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Aug 9, 2021
University of Wisconsin Asks for Help Locating Feral Hemp

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin are working to identify and characterize feral hemp populations in the Midwest in an effort to utilize this unique resource to help the burgeoning hemp industry. The UW hemp program is asking those living in the North Central Midwest for help in locating populations of feral hemp to include in a study.

Midwest farmers struggle with decreased revenue resulting from globalization, technological advancements, and extreme weather events, and diversifying agriculture can increase economic potential and help build more sustainable agricultural systems in the Midwest region. Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is an alternative crop that can be used to diversify regional agriculture; however, a lack of institutional research over the past 70 years has left hemp farmers with relatively little foundational agronomic knowledge and poorly adapted cultivars. We are working to identify and characterize feral hemp populations in the Midwest in an effort to utilize this unique resource to help the burgeoning hemp industry.

The project objectives are to:

  1. Characterize phenology and preserve seed from feral hemp populations
  2. Identify site conditions in feral hemp populations and relate those conditions to Eurasian Hemp Borer (an insect pest) resistance and higher-yielding hemp cultivars
  3. Identify sources of Eurasian Hemp Borer resistance from feral hemp that can be used to create higher-yielding hemp cultivars for midwestern farmers.

Information about feral hemp can be shared with UW’s hemp program in one of two ways, either via iNaturalist (a free crowdsourcing nature application available through an application on your mobile device or via a web browser) or by sending information directly via email or the U.S. postal service. Detailed instructions for both options can be found in this document: UW Feral Hemp Study (PDF). The time commitment is very minimal.

For more information, contact Brian Barringer via email ([email protected]) or phone (715-346-2452).




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