Weaver: Hemp could help Iowa farmers, water quality

Des Moines Register | William Petroski | 9/30/16

Weaver: Hemp could help Iowa farmers, water quality

Introducing industrial hemp as a cash crop for Iowa farmers would spur agricultural income and help address the state's water quality problems, says Kim Weaver of Sheldon, the Democratic nominee for Congress in Iowa's 4th District.

Weaver is a political newcomer who is a long-term care ombudsman for the Iowa Department of Aging, She proposes that Iowa legalize industrial hemp production to help reduce nitrates and improve water quality and that the deep-rooted plant be seeded in areas prone to have wet soils. She envisions that widespread planting of industrial hemp - which was grown in Iowa  to manufacture rope in World War II - would result in less corn production and higher prices for grain.

Industrial hemp can be used for livestock feed and to produce biofuels, paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint and insulation.

"Federally, it is legal. It is a state issue," to permit the planting of industrial hemp,  Weaver said at a meeting  Friday with The Des Moines Register's editors and reporters. "It is an innovative idea and it would bring more people to the state" and would provide an alternative crop for Iowa farmers, she suggested. She noted that industrial hemp, which is a variety of the  Cannabis sativa plant, is not to be confused with recreational marijuana.

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