Industrial hemp new star crop in Montana agriculture - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Industrial hemp new star crop in Montana agriculture

Posted: Updated:

"It has taken 17 years to finally get our first crop in the ground."

In 2001, industrial hemp became legal to grow in Montana. And considering it's one of the fastest growing crops around, it's amazing how long it took to actually be planted in Montana soil.

"We have about six hundred miles that we share with our Canadian neighbors, and they're making good money on industrial hemp, whereas Montana's making not one penny," says Chris Christiaens, lobbyist for Montana Farmers Union. 

The new industry is thanks mostly to Chris, who, although it's been 17 years,  continues to lobby for Montana farmers; in fact he's so busy, the only time our reporter could get an interview with him was on the road. 

"He said, oh Chris, he said this bill goes way too far, he said you'll never get this passed," Chris remarked, as he told the story of trying to pass legislation for industrial hemp. 

Senate Bill 261 did pass, with zero amendments. And Chris says the possibilities for industrial hemp uses are almost endless.

"Bedding plant...Mortar...Road building, bridge decks...Oil seed, all cosmetics," That list goes on. 

So why did it take Montana so long to catch on? Chris says the reason is misconceptions over it's "cannabinoid" status. 

According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, industrial hemp has a THC content of between 0.05 and 1%.

"You could smoke a truckload and get sick before you ever got any feeling of marijuana from it."

Chad Doheny is a pulse crop farmer just north of Dutton. He went so far as to get the license to grow industrial hemp, but decided at the last minute the risks were too great. 

"There's just not enough info or consistency in what people say about it yet. I talked to insurance companies who weren't certain at all if they would insure you if you had hemp...it seems like a real easy way to lose your farm."

But now, ten different farmers in Montana are growing hemp, and so far, they report the crop is looking incredible. Chris isn't surprised, and is already looking towards the future. 

"As we see small town, rural Montana getting smaller all the time, we need to be thinking about other uses of diverse crops that can allow these small towns and the people who live in these communities to survive."

Harvesting season for Montana's hemp crop will be any day now. In Canada they tend to harvest their hemp in late September, and Chris says we usually run about a month or two ahead of them. 

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 6-year-old hit by car in Great Falls

    6-year-old hit by car in Great Falls

    Wednesday, July 19 2017 11:40 PM EDT2017-07-20 03:40:58 GMT
    A 6-year-old child was hit by a vehicle in Great Falls Wednesday evening.  According to the Great Falls Police Department, the incident happened at the intersection of 29th Street and 2nd Avenue. It is still unclear at this time what led to the accident, or if anyone else was involved.  Police tell KFBB while initial reports are vague, scanner traffic indicates non-life threatening injuries, and the incident "sounded minor." We will continue to update you if mor...
    A 6-year-old child was hit by a vehicle in Great Falls Wednesday evening.  According to the Great Falls Police Department, the incident happened at the intersection of 29th Street and 2nd Avenue. It is still unclear at this time what led to the accident, or if anyone else was involved.  Police tell KFBB while initial reports are vague, scanner traffic indicates non-life threatening injuries, and the incident "sounded minor." We will continue to update you if mor...
  • Was your mobile phone hacked? Security breach reported

    Was your mobile phone hacked? Security breach reported

    Thursday, July 20 2017 1:09 PM EDT2017-07-20 17:09:55 GMT

    First reported by security expert Nitay Artenstein, a bug in Apple's security allowed hackers to access Broadcom's Wi-Fi chipsets remotely without user interaction. 

    First reported by security expert Nitay Artenstein, a bug in Apple's security allowed hackers to access Broadcom's Wi-Fi chipsets remotely without user interaction. 

  • Grizzly Bear pictured in Big Belt Mountains

    Grizzly Bear pictured in Big Belt Mountains

    Wednesday, July 19 2017 7:49 PM EDT2017-07-19 23:49:32 GMT
    The first bear sighting in possibly a century appears to be the big news when a 3 1/2-year-old grizzly bear was confirmed to be roaming in Big Belt Mountains, earlier this summer. Fish, Wildlife and Parks posted on their Facebook page a picture of the bear that was taken at a remote trail FWP was using to monitor wolves. The young bear appeared to be alone and no human contact reported. This is the second sighting of species being in areas they have not been present in for...
    The first bear sighting in possibly a century appears to be the big news when a 3 1/2-year-old grizzly bear was confirmed to be roaming in Big Belt Mountains, earlier this summer. Fish, Wildlife and Parks posted on their Facebook page a picture of the bear that was taken at a remote trail FWP was using to monitor wolves. The young bear appeared to be alone and no human contact reported. This is the second sighting of species being in areas they have not been present in for...
  • New Autism School Opening This Fall

    New Autism School Opening This Fall

    Friday, July 14 2017 8:39 PM EDT2017-07-15 00:39:36 GMT

    In education news, a new school for children with autism is opening this fall in Great Falls, and organizers say it's the first one of its kind in the state, 

    In education news, a new school for children with autism is opening this fall in Great Falls, and organizers say it's the first one of its kind in the state, 

  • Murder Victim's Mother Wants Answers

    Murder Victim's Mother Wants Answers

    Tuesday, July 11 2017 8:58 PM EDT2017-07-12 00:58:23 GMT
    A year after his murder, Ryan Eakin’s family isn't convinced police arrested the right man- at least not without more answers. "It just makes it difficult for us to have closure at this point when we don’t really know the true story," says Kirk Eakin, Ryan’s dad. The day after his son Ryan was killed, Austin Lee Kroll-McLaughlin was charged with deliberate homicide and earlier this year plead guilty. According to court documents Kroll-McLaughlin fatally ...
    A year after his murder, Ryan Eakin’s family isn't convinced police arrested the right man- at least not without more answers. "It just makes it difficult for us to have closure at this point when we don’t really know the true story," says Kirk Eakin, Ryan’s dad. The day after his son Ryan was killed, Austin Lee Kroll-McLaughlin was charged with deliberate homicide and earlier this year plead guilty. According to court documents Kroll-McLaughlin fatally ...
  • Man allegedly solicited sex from cop undercover posing as teen boy

    Man allegedly solicited sex from cop undercover posing as teen boy

    Thursday, July 20 2017 3:38 PM EDT2017-07-20 19:38:54 GMT

    A Great Falls man is charged with sexual abuse of a child after allegedly soliciting sex from police posing as a teenager online. According to court documents, Alex Hamilton is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of children.

    A Great Falls man is charged with sexual abuse of a child after allegedly soliciting sex from police posing as a teenager online. According to court documents, Alex Hamilton is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of children.

  • Bullock For President? Governor Creates Federal PAC

    Bullock For President? Governor Creates Federal PAC

    Wednesday, July 19 2017 7:44 PM EDT2017-07-19 23:44:55 GMT
    Governor Steve Bullock has been tabbed as the top Democratic governor to potentially run against President Trump in 2020 by The New York Times. During a meeting with reporters, Bullock said he's seeking to add his voice to the national conversation on many issues, but it was premature to start talking about a presidential race. Wednesday, Bullock told KFBB he is still focused on his job leading Montana, but says the country can learn a lot from the way things are done in the Treasur...
    Governor Steve Bullock has been tabbed as the top Democratic governor to potentially run against President Trump in 2020 by The New York Times. During a meeting with reporters, Bullock said he's seeking to add his voice to the national conversation on many issues, but it was premature to start talking about a presidential race. Wednesday, Bullock told KFBB he is still focused on his job leading Montana, but says the country can learn a lot from the way things are done in the Treasur...
  • White House: Budget deficit to spike to $702B

    White House: Budget deficit to spike to $702B

    Friday, July 14 2017 5:34 PM EDT2017-07-14 21:34:06 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says worsening tax revenues will cause the budget deficit to jump to $702 billion this year. That's a $99 billion spike from what was predicted less than two months ago.

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says worsening tax revenues will cause the budget deficit to jump to $702 billion this year. That's a $99 billion spike from what was predicted less than two months ago.

  • Industrial hemp new star crop in Montana agriculture

    Industrial hemp new star crop in Montana agriculture

    Thursday, July 13 2017 9:33 PM EDT2017-07-14 01:33:26 GMT
    "It has taken 17 years to finally get our first crop in the ground." In 2001, industrial hemp became legal to grow in Montana. And considering it's one of the fastest growing crops around, it's amazing how long it took to actually be planted in Montana soil. "We have about six hundred miles that we share with our Canadian neighbors, and they're making good money on industrial hemp, whereas Montana's making not one penny," says Chris Christiaens, lobbyist for Mont...
    "It has taken 17 years to finally get our first crop in the ground." In 2001, industrial hemp became legal to grow in Montana. And considering it's one of the fastest growing crops around, it's amazing how long it took to actually be planted in Montana soil. "We have about six hundred miles that we share with our Canadian neighbors, and they're making good money on industrial hemp, whereas Montana's making not one penny," says Chris Christiaens, lobbyist for Mont...