Urge Governor Rauner to Allow Industrial Hemp Farming


Illinois farmers need your help!

Last month a bill to allow Illinois farmers to grow Industrial Hemp (SB2298) passed both the Illinois House and Senate nearly unanimously. Now the Governor must decide whether or not to sign it into law.

Send a quick message today to urge Governor Rauner to sign the Industrial Hemp Bill (SB2298). 

Illinois Farmers Need Your Help
Farmers like Rachel Berry in Princeton and Ryan Butzow in Onarga cannot wait to get started growing industrial hemp. There isn't a minute to lose: farmers in neighboring Kentucky, Indiana and a dozen other states are already growing hemp. They have a leg up in the market and in learning how to grow a new crop, and Illinois farmers are ready to compete.

Governor Rauner needs to hear from you today. 

Farmers, and our soil and water, are counting on us.  Adding a crop of hemp to the corn and soybeans rotation is a step in the right direction to add diversity and cultivate healthy soil. Hemp is powerful at suffocating out weeds, so it also means producers can use less spray.

Most importantly, farmers can make money growing hemp. Demand for hemp is growing nationwide, and with low grain prices, hemp offers farmers an additional cash crop to earn income.

Why Industrial Hemp?
 The Governor has not made any statements on hemp that we've seen so far, so we think he hasn't made up his mind yet.

Governor Rauner needs to hear from you today. 

You can remind him of some of the reasons Industrial Hemp is good for Illinois:  
  • Over 30 states have passed hemp laws, including our neighbors Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, and recently Missouri - Illinois is falling behind. We passed a hemp law in 2014 only allowing certain universities to grow hemp, while these other states are now licensing farmers to grow it. Illinois farmers deserve the same opportunity.
  • Illinois was a leader in hemp production in WWII - Farmers were urged to grow hemp to help the war efforts, supplying hemp for rope, sails, industrial lubricants, and more. The town of Polo, north of Peoria, was even selected by the federal government as a site for a hemp processing pilot program.
  • Hemp has thousands of uses - There are an estimated 25,000 uses for hemp, including plastic alternatives, "hempcrete" building material, food, cloth, rope, supplements, cosmetics, and much more. All of these processing opportunities also mean JOBS!
  • Hemp has environmental and economic benefits - Hemp requires very few inputs, reducing chemicals introduced to the environment. It has the potential to outcompete "superweeds," and would be a useful crop for farmers transitioning to organic. At a time when commodity prices are extremely low, it could provide needed income as a third crop in a farmer's rotation.
  • Hemp is, by definition, not a drug - While hemp is botanically related to marijuana, it has none of the psychoactive effects of it's cousin, as it contains only trace amounts of chemical compound THC. Smoking a full acre of hemp would not be enough to produce any psychoactive effect. Federal law sets the thresholds that separate one plant from the other. This bill follows federal law.
After the governor signs the bill, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will have 180 days to draft rules to license farmers to grow hemp. The sooner the Governor signs the bill, the sooner IDOA can begin the rule-making process.  

If signed, we could see industrial hemp in Illinois fields next year!

Thank you for sending a message today to make sure Illinois farmers can grow hemp. 

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Industrial Hemp is just a few clicks away when you urge the governor to sign the industrial hemp farming bill. Illinois farmers and our soil and water are counting on you.  After you send him a message, please forward this email to a friend or share on social media and help us spread the word about industrial hemp!