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Could Hemp Farming Help Save The Bees?

Could Hemp Farming Help Save The Bees?

Exposure to industrial hemp farming has begun to increase as of late, despite the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which made the plant illegal to grow in the U.S. This non-psychoactive plant possesses numerous economic purposes, but one recent study suggests its capabilities transcend plastic composites and nutraceuticals.

What To Know

The study released by Civilized earlier this month revealed that hemp is extremely beneficial for bees, according to a Colorado insect expert.

For regions in the U.S. that do not possess many alternative flowering plants, hemp could act as a necessary pollen resource for bees to receive vital nutrients. The plant is able to detoxify the soil as it grows due to its natural carbon makeup.

“Hemp farming as an alternative to other crops can be less resource-intensive and thus benefit the health of local insect and bee populations,” said Robert Roscow, director of genetic research at Ebbu, LLC.

“At Ebbu, we are excited to support the nascent industrial hemp community during this exciting period of growth and innovation. We believe strongly that hemp products will continue be of great importance, and that their sustainable production can be a key benefit."

Why It’s Important

Pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $15 billion each year to the value of American agriculture in the form of higher yields and superior harvests, according to the Department of Agriculture. 

"But managed honey bees have come under serious pressures from many different stresses, which has resulted in beekeepers losing many colonies,” the federal agency said. 

The production of hemp would likely help the combat dwindling honey bee colonies and provide farmers with more resources for their crops.

What’s Next

While the industrial use of hemp remains federally illegal, the latest Farm Bill could change that: the 2018 bill intends to remove hemp from the list of Schedule I controlled substances banned in the U.S.

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