Salisbury University Launches Hemp Pilot Program - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury University Launches Hemp Pilot Program

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SALISBURY, Md. - Students at Salisbury University will soon have their hand in Maryland's newest plant, hemp. 

The newly legalized plant has still not formed its roots yet in Maryland, but now biology students will pair with local farmers to help grow hemp this summer. 

SU biology professor Mark Holland says hemp is a variety of cannabis that is used for industrial purposes.  He looks forward to seeing how the plant expands on the Eastern Shore.

"The seed could be used like this to make a nutritional supplement, protein supplement, it's supposed to be high in Omega 3-fatty acids," Holland said.

Holland says a part of the state application process for growers requires farmers to partner with a higher education program. 

"We started getting phone calls at the university asking if anyone was currently doing hemp research, if anyone was interested in hemp research. The answer was no we aren't doing any hemp research. Largely because it was all illegal," Holland said.

Holland says students will gain summer internship experiences by working with a probiotic he's been researching for the last 25 years.  The probiotic bacteria is created in the SU lab and has proven to be successful in growing other types of plants at a faster yield. 

"During the growing season we want to have some student interns working with us who can visit these growing locations on a biweekly basis or so and collect data," Holland said.
 
Holland says the growing season could start as early as two weeks from now, but the applications with the university are still being processed.  The Maryland Department of Agriculture says farmers anticipate the first hemp harvest later this summer. 
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