SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — In June, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) set aside a plot on the Illinois State Fairgrounds to educate fairgoers on hemp. Eight CBD plants and 100 industrial hemp plants were planted next to the UI Master Gardner’s located on 8th Street, behind the Swine Barn.
The two types of plants can be easily spotted. The CBD variety needs space to branch out to produce more buds for oils. The industrial strains, on the other hand, are planted close and compacted so they will grow tall and skinny producing long, straight stems ideal for fiber and hurd production.
“The arrival of hemp as a viable cash crop provides new opportunities for farmers, agribusiness, and hemp processors to make Illinois a leader in the hemp industry,” said John Sullivan, director of IDOA. “We thought there would be no better place to showcase this crop than the Illinois State Fair.”
Hemp has a long history in the United States and Americans were once legally bound to grow hemp during the colonial era and early republic. Today, hemp is used to make a variety of products from healing oils, to textiles, to hempcrete, which is used as a material in construction. It is important to note, hemp has zero psychotropic effect when consumed and became completely legal with passage of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill.
An IDOA rep will give presentations at the hemp plot daily during the fair from 1 – 3 pm, as well as showcasing items made from hemp. There’s also an educational display inside IDOA, which is open daily from 8 am – 8 pm.