Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Secretary Russell Redding is looking to boost sales, export markets, and consumer awareness of hemp products through funding research projects.

In an Oct. 17 press release from the PDA, Russell called for proposals for projects from nonprofit marketing and promotion organizations, announcing the PDA will award up to $200,000 in matching funds to aid research projects, with a minimum award of $1,000.

“Hemp has presented a unique opportunity to grow an industry from the ground up, supplying seemingly limitless sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products,” Redding said. “These grants will feed a new industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for farm income and jobs as well as new possibilities for climate-friendly, environmentally beneficial products.”

The purpose of the grant funding is to reimburse up to 50% of the cost of research projects that are focused on:

Increasing consumer awareness and sales of hemp productsEducating consumers and producers on hemp productsGrowing and developing export markets for hemp products

According to the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PDA will grant funds once the project is completed. In addition, the grant money should be used for one or more of the following purposes:

“To pay the cost of the specific project described in the grant application.To pay the cost of a portion of a Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organization’s contribution to a national or regional agricultural product promotion and marketing project.To pay the cost of programs conducted by an applicant to educate producers and consumers with respect to agricultural hemp products within this commonwealth.To pay the cost of such other activities consistent with the secretary of agriculture’s authority under section 1704 of The Administrative Code of 1929, as amended (71 P.S. § 444).”

Interested nonprofits must apply by 5 p.m. Dec. 2. All projects must have started on or after July 1 and must be completed by June 30, 2023, according to the release.

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