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Farm bill hemp language pleases key North Dakotans

Industrial hemp
Industrial hemp

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- In 2007, North Dakota's Agriculture Department issued the nation's first hemp production licenses to farmers Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge.

But neither has grown a crop, after failing to get Drug Enforcement Administration approval and losing a court battle against the federal government.

Both farmers hope a farm bill provision allowing for research plots of hemp in states that allow its cultivation will be a major step toward the establishment of a hemp industry in the country.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson feels the same. But he says much still must happen before hemp fields can dot the countryside. The federal Agriculture Department must write rules, and other agencies including the DEA might still weigh in. And North Dakota State University agronomist Burton Johnson says research will take time.

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