Volume 2 (2021)
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L. with <0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol content) is one of the oldest agricultural commodities and can be grown for fiber, grain, and cannabinoids. For most of the last century, C. sativa has been a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. However, the 2014 and 2018 U.S. Farm Bills allowed hemp production under a pilot research program and a commercial program, respectively. As a result, there has been a huge resurgence in hemp production in the U.S. but without modern scientific data with which to maximize production.
The first meeting of the Science of Hemp: Production and Pest Management was held in Lexington, Kentucky in October 2019 and brought together agricultural scientists to share early data on hemp. COVID-19 derailed plans to hold a 2020 meeting, but we resumed in 2021 with a virtual meeting. The 2021 virtual meeting was hosted by Auburn University and took place on November 19th, 2021. One hundred twenty-nine participants joined us online for scientific presentations, breakout sessions, workshops, and poster and oral student competitions. Attendees presented 41 oral talks, 13 posters, 8 workshops, and 3 Lunch and Learns.
Discipline specific workshops (entomology, plant pathology, weed science, and agronomy) were offered by experts and designed for attendees to learn the basics of a discipline outside their own. Other workshop topics included greenhouse lighting, pesticide use, impact reporting, and biological control. Our Lunch and Learns were selected to help researchers extend hemp information to their communities. They included tutorials on creating infographics, teaching via Zoom, and livestreaming to social media.
We were excited to be able to hold a student competition for traditional oral presentations and Flash and Dash poster presentations. It is encouraging that the next generation of scientists are conducting valuable applied research on hemp. Eighteen students competed in the competitions and the top three in each oral and poster competition were awarded cash prizes. All students received feedback from judges on their presentations.
While we could not meet in person, the virtual event proved successful and concluded with a virtual social. Prizes were given for the best virtual background and winners of hemp trivia.
- Katelyn Kesheimer
- Nicole Gauthier
- Kimberly Leonberger