Idaho farmers start making use of for permits to develop hemp

TWIN FALLS (AP) – The Idaho State Department of Agriculture launched its online application system for would-be hemp farmers early last week, and applications are starting to come in.

Nineteen hemp producer and hemp treatment applications have been filed since the system went live on Nov. 8, the Times-News reported on Wednesday.

Idaho became the last state in the country to legalize the production and processing of industrial hemp earlier this year. However, hemp producers must be licensed – a process that includes filing a background check, providing information about the farm or processing facility, and official approval from the state.

Those who are approved can start producing and handling hemp products in 2022.

“I assume that more farmers will apply,” said Buhl farmer Tim Cornie, who made an application. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Cornie, co-owner of 1,000 Springs Mill, has a long history of growing hemp.

“We’ve been advocating this for over two years because we knew it was a product that would go well with our line of products and be super healthy,” said Cornie.

Some Idaho lawmakers were reluctant to allow hemp because they feared breeders would try to hide cannabis plants in a hemp field. The plants are both of the same species, but hemp contains far less THC, the cannabis compound that gives cannabis its high.

“That would lead to cross-pollination and it would make zero THC worth,” Cornie said. “They saw the benefits and realized that it was just a commodity like wheat and corn.”

A wide variety of foods can be made from hemp. It can be a substitute for cotton and wood fiber.

In September, a hemp-based building materials company selected Jerome as its new location. Hempitecture Inc. will build the facility in Northbridge Junction Industrial Park, where Interstate 84 and US Highway 93 intersect in Jerome County. The 21,632 square meter facility will produce HempWool, fiber thermal insulation for residential and commercial construction projects.