Anheuser-Busch to improve barley

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The maker of Budweiser is partnering with a Missouri agricultural technology firm to develop barley varieties that use less water and other natural resources.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Anheuser-Busch InBev and Benson Hill Biosystems announced their global partnership on Monday.

The St. Louis-based crop improvement company will use its breeding technology to develop barley varieties that are more productive and sustainable. Benson Hill has a crop-design platform that combines genome editing and trait targeting.

Gary Hanning is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global director of barley research. Hanning said in a statement that Benson Hill’s crop technology puts the Belgium-based beer company at the forefront of innovation.

He said the project will “develop more resilient and sustainable varieties of barley for growers and the best quality malt for our brewers.”

Ky. firm: Our hemp plants have zero THC

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky company says it has developed hemp plants that don’t contain any THC, which is marijuana’s main psychoactive component.

The Courier Journal reported the Monday announcement by GenCanna Global was hailed by the company and University of Kentucky researchers as a breakthrough in the global hemp industry. State growers and processors have struggled to keep trace amounts of THC out of natural variations in the plants that produce CBD oil and other products.

The federal 2018 Farm Bill signed into law in December removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. But it didn’t change the legal THC standard, requiring the state agricultural department to destroy “hot hemp” plants.

GenCanna plans to patent this plant material.

Kentucky’s industrial hemp initiative posted record sales of $50 million last year.

Hemp buzz among Minn. farmers, cities

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s hemp program is getting inundated with calls as farmers, municipal leaders and producers look into investing in the newly legal crop.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that hundreds of Minnesota farmers are expressing interest in growing hemp just a month after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the controlled substances list. The new bill legalizing industrial hemp comes as farmers face low prices for traditional crops such as corn and soybeans.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture official Margaret Wiatrowski cautioned potential growers to find buyers in advance since hemp doesn’t have the same ready markets and processing infrastructure as established crops.

She said Minnesota is continuing its hemp pilot program this year and will submit a plan to the USDA to regulate hemp in 2020.

Report: 15 NY crops ranked in top 5 in U.S.

SILVER SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — The Office of the New York State Comptroller says farms in the Empire State produced 15 agricultural products that ranked in the top five nationwide last year.

A report released by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state’s more than 35,000 farms generated $4.8 billion in revenue in 2017.

The New York crops that landed in the top rankings nationally include cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, apples and grapes. DiNapoli’s report found New York’s production of milk, snap beans and maple syrup also rose in national rankings.

DiNapoli said New York farmers are facing challenges ranging from low milk prices to tariffs and restrictions on immigrant workers.

Illinois hemp industry could be big business

ROSEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Hemp could be the next big cash crop in Illinois, according to a farmer who was among the first to legally grow the plant in the state after it became legal last year.

Hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana but doesn’t have THC, the compound that causes a high. Hemp can be turned into clothing, textiles, building materials, paper and food.

Illinois lawmakers authorized hemp production in the state last year. A new federal farm bill signed this month legalized the plant’s production nationwide. The move will give hemp farmers access to interstate commerce, crop insurance, standard business loans and tax deductions, giving the hemp industry an advantage over medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.

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