State’s First Industrial Hemp License Goes To A Southern Oregon Man

OREGON:  A man who was issued the first state permit to grow industrial hemp said he and a nonprofit group of growers and activists hope to plant a 25-acre field in Southwest Oregon this spring.

Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, Ore., who describes himself as director of the Oregon Agriculture Food & Rural Consortium, acknowledged there are problems obtaining seeds for planting and other complications, but said he is optimistic. Winters also said warehousing and processing facilities will be ready to go when a crop is harvested in late summer.

“We are in position to do 40 tons a day at our processing mill,” Winters said. “We’ve got our ducks in a row.”

Getting seed to plant is one of the major hurdles. Importing it requires the approval of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University are working with the DEA on that process. In addition, Winters said a major Canadian hemp company, Hemp Textiles International, has breeders’ rights to its seed and will not allow Oregon growers to retain seed for planting. Meanwhile, the existing state statute requires hemp seed produced in Oregon to be replanted.