Local hemp farmers add to increase of industrial hemp production in West Virginia

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PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP) Industrial hemp farmers have more than quadrupled their crop in West Virginia this year.

According to agriculture commissioners, about 130 farmers grew 641 acres of industrial hemp this year, which is a significant increase from 2018.

West Virginia is one of few states that were granted early legislation to engage in hemp crop production after the passing of the Pilot Program in 2014, which allows authorized growers to possess, grow and cultivate seeds and hemp plants.

Hemp is a type of cannabis from the same plant species as marijuana that mostly lacks intoxicating compounds and is used to make textiles, plastics and cannabidiol products.

J. Morgan Leach, Licensed Hemp Farmer and CEO of West Virginia's Hemp Farmer's Cooperative, houses his hemp production business in Parkersburg.

Leach intends to make great profit from the hemp industry while also diversifying West Virginia's crop business by producing hemp.

"The profit potential per acre on this crop far exceeds any other cash crop in the state", said Leach.

More than 400 applications have been submitted for the 2020 growing season, double from last year's numbers.