May 25, 2023 marked the planting date for our hemp fiber trials. This year represented a major expansion of our hemp fiber research. Our goal is to learn more about practices that will help our farmers produce high quality fiber! Tinkering with varieties, seeding rates, crop rotations and retting times to start. All of this made possible by funding received from the USDA CARE & SARE Grant programs. Thank you!
This multi-year funding allows us enough time to learn, reflect, and perfect. In research farming, there are few opportunities for ‘do-overs’. Often, there is only one opening in the whole year to ‘get something right,’ and any edits to the experimental design must wait an entire year to be implemented. Our team must be intentional with our actions and reflective about what we would do differently in the next year to yield a more favorable outcome. That said, isn’t this what we all love about farming, and what keeps us coming back!? Over the course of this first year of expanded fiber research, much was learned, but like any well-designed experiment, follow-up questions and deeper inquiries have also risen to the surface. Stay tuned for the research reports that will be made available over winter, and for what may come next for hemp fiber in Vermont. Be sure to visit our website www.uvm.edu/extension/nwcrops.