Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa
), has been proposed as a new crop that might be of interest to organic farmers in the North Carolina and other states in the United States. However, little is known about how organic farmers view this crop. We conducted a survey among North Carolina certified organic growers to ascertain their knowledge of, and willingness to adopt, industrial hemp. Contact information was obtained from a database of certified organic farmers in North Carolina and the growers were contacted by email and directed to complete an online questionnaire. Growers were asked a wide range of questions about farm characteristics, technology adoption, interest toward industrial hemp, and policy issues regarding hemp adoption. A total of 245 farmers were contacted; 64 started the survey and 35 responded to all questions. Our results indicate that 85% of North Carolina organic growers are interested in growing hemp on their farms and the majority wanted to learn more about the crop production practices, adapted cultivars, and legality of growing it. Seventy-five percent expressed interest in being certified growers while 52% wanted to grow industrial hemp primarily for cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Most (65%) respondents indicate they aspired to be among the first farmers in their area to grow and sell hemp. Growers who have tried new crops or new farming technology in the last three years were more likely to adopt industrial hemp production. These findings will help decision-makers understand the critical concerns of growers who are willing to adopt industrial hemp as an alternative income-generating enterprise.
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