Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Darryl Glotfelty shares his enthusiasm about industrial hemp at the Native Plant Festival in New Germany State Park.
Engage Mountain Maryland was one of several organizations sharing their work at this year's Native Plant Festival in beautiful, New Germany State Park today.
Darryl Glotfelty was a special guest joining EMM President, Mark Stutzman who shared the new economic opportunities industrial hemp could bring to Western Maryland.
Glotfelty is in the final processes of obtaining a permit from Maryland Department of Agriculture to grow a maiden crop on his generations-old family farm in Garrett County. He will be working closely with the University of Maryland to track, test, and monitor his crop to help the state build regulatory guideline for the future and develop standards and best practices for growers. He shared his enthusiasm with attendees and information about how others can apply and participate in the program.
The pair also discussed their plan to pursue investment in an in-county processing facility that would build a bridge between farmers and manufacturers.
"Establishing a high-quality Garrett County branded export for national and international markets would be a real boost for area farmers," said Stutzman. "Providing the raw materials would position our agricultural community at the front end of hemp product manufacturing."
A display showed numerous hemp products readily available online. Until the 2018 farm bill legalizing the crop, over $800 million in hemp goods were imported from Canada and China. This impressive demand could be met by American farmers, according to Glotfelty.
"We have the space to grow here," said Glotfelty. "This is a business that has enormous capacity for vertical expansion as well."
As with any new business, additional services could accompany industrial hemp such as lab testing, horticultural assistance, agritourism, and trucking.
Opening the door to industrial hemp could be a game-changer for local landowners looking to produce a crop with built-in value. Global markets are turning to sustainable, environmentally-friendly raw materials that could be produced from hemp.
Virtually the entire plant can be used to produce any number of materials without waste. Biodegradable, single-use plastics such as shopping bags, straws, and lids can be made from hemp oils, fibers and micro-fibers can be manufactured into durable fabrics and cord, and plant pulp into papers. Coarser fibers can be used for composite building materials and biomass sparing forests from excessive harvests.
If you would like to be kept up to date on developments with industrial hemp, email EMM at the address below.