By Derrick Stanley
Dan Dolgin and Mark Justh planted 30 acres of hemp near Eaton, New York in July under a research license from Morrisville State College. They are expecting their first harvest next month.
"It's not only the first legal hemp grown in New York State, but the first legal hemp to be grown here in 80 years," Dolgin said.
They say their biggest hurdle is proving to people that hemp is not marijuana and won't "get you high".
"Looking at this you might not be able to tell the difference between the two, but they have very different end uses and are grown very differently," said Dolgin.
"This is an agricultural crop. It has nothing to do with marijuana and I think it's important for people to understand that," Mark Justh said.
Hemp is used in textiles, building materials, and food.
"It's got all the omega 3's and 6's. It's probably the best vegan alternative to fish oil so we're excited about the nutritional components as much as we are the industrial components," said Dolgin.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the annual hemp sales to be almost $600 million, but all of that money is being spent outside the U.S. presently.
Dan and Mark expect a high yield at harvest next month. "We expect to get 800 pounds per acre off of this," Justh said.
They hope that hemp will soon benefit farmers all over the state.