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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Celebrates Growth of Connecticut’s New Hemp Program

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LEDYARD – Standing in a field of hemp that will be ready for harvest in just three weeks, state Senator Cathy Osten (D–Sprague) today joined Town Farm owners Dylan and Amanda Williams and various state officials to announce that Connecticut has already licensed 82 hemp growers, two processors and 21 manufacturers under a new pilot hemp-growing program that the legislature just passed in the first week of May.

The unanimous and bipartisan legislation – of which Sen. Osten was a primary sponsor – was passed early in the session to ensure that Connecticut farmers could plant their first crop and harvest it this summer.

The timing worked, as there are currently 294 acres of land being used to grow hemp in Connecticut. Town Farm in Ledyard, which was the first farm in Connecticut licensed to grow hemp, now has a total of seven acres under cultivation at three different sites in Connecticut.

“This new crop is something of a leap of faith in Connecticut, and the work and the research that Amanda and Dylan and their staff are doing here in Ledyard on Town Farm is really going to allow the planting of hemp to blossom all across Connecticut,” Sen. Osten said. “I’ve been working for several years to get hemp farming passed in Connecticut. Now I can’t wait for a plaque to be put up on this site someday that notes that Town Farm was the beginning of the hemp industry in Connecticut!”

“This new law allows farmers to diversify and plant a new crop, which brings value and economic viability back to their land,” Dylan Williams said. “It’s also a new commodity for the state.”

Williams said he hopes to harvest about 10,000 pounds of hemp flowers from his seven acres beginning in October, and to use the crop to produce CDB oil and, in the future, hemp fiber. He has focused this summer on the technical aspects of plant spacing, measuring yields, and developing an integrated pest management control plan for the plants which he says is “crucial” to the success of future hemp production in the state.

“Our administration is committed to efforts that will strengthen our agricultural economy and create jobs, and do so in a responsible manner by offering a competitive market to thousands of our state’s farmers,” Governor Ned Lamont said today during a tour of Town Farm. “Since we launched this hemp program, we’ve developed great partnerships with these farmers – some of whom have been in the industry for many years and are diversifying their agricultural opportunities with hemp, and other who are first-timers and have become attracted to this new and growing market. I’m excited about the opportunities this program is creating.”

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DOAG), which is responsible under the new law for licensing hemp growers and processors, had the program up and running within one week. DOAG also launched an online portal – available at www.ctgrown.gov/hemp – to give interested growers an opportunity to submit applications for licenses.

“It’s exciting to be able to offer a new opportunity and market for Connecticut farmers to participate,” DOAG Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said. “There has been a lot of engagement and collaboration with partners and farmers across the state, and it’s great to celebrate the first growing season with all of the partners today.”

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