Lancaster Farming is launching a podcast with the story of a crop whose time may have finally come.
Industrial hemp — its fiber valued for manufacturing, its oil sought out as medicine — could be legalized for commercial production in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The crop has been outlawed since the 1930s because it is the same species as marijuana, even though hemp contains too little of the chemical THC to induce a high.
“It’s interesting to me that this ancient crop that has been outlawed for 80 years has been racing back to the forefront,” said Eric Hurlock, Lancaster Farming’s digital editor.
He hosts the podcast and composed its original music.
Season 1 of the podcast will run for a planned 10 episodes through the end of October. The third episode was released this week.
Hurlock interviewed farmers, policymakers and hemp advocates while developing the first season. Interviewees will appear in multiple episodes throughout the season.
The podcast will explore what hemp is, how to grow it, what a hemp supply chain might look like and what legal hurdles still overshadow the crop.
Currently, hemp may only be grown for research purposes in the United States, and there could be a learning curve for law enforcement and municipal officials used to assuming all cannabis plants are contraband.
“There are township officials and others who have really been cautious about that industrial hemp plant because of what it looks like and concerns, I think, about what the public perceptions will be if it appears in the township,” said Pennsylvania Ag Secretary Russell Redding, who appears in episode 3.
Each episode of the podcast will run 10 to 15 minutes. That’s relatively short for a podcast, but “we’re making them into smaller, digestible chunks,” Hurlock said.
As he continues producing Season 1, Hurlock is seeking feedback and questions from listeners about hemp. There’s still time to get those questions answered as part of the series.
Lancaster Farming is also seeking sponsorships for the program.
Meanwhile, Hurlock is looking ahead to Season 2, which is planned for 2019. That series will explore another realm of agriculture and could feature more members of the Lancaster Farming staff.
Hurlock wants to hear from people who have stories to tell, especially humorous ones, about farming. Email email@example.com.
To listen to the Lancaster Farming podcast, go https://www.lancasterfarming.com/community/podcasts_and_audio/
The podcast is also available on iTunes and will soon be available on other popular podcasting apps as well.