Hemp: Creating a Standard for the Hottest Crop and Certified Seeds
Hemp: a Trendy Crop Hemp is the trendy crop of 2019, and it is expected to remain so for the next few years – especially with global supply being only a fraction of the growing demand. But trends do not necessarily translate to know-how. From seed to harvest to processing, US growers, consumers, and regulators are asking an array of hemp questions. Since the passage of the 2018 farm bill, and the federal legalization of hemp, the crop has gone from prohibited to no longer prohibited. But these swift changes have also led to a lack of standardization, uniformity, and accountability, especially with regards to seeds.
It is therefore essential to create a national infrastructure around hemp as the US and global markets explode. State certification programs for hemp, guaranteeing growers and consumers that the seeds they’re buying are legitimate, are currently one of the only regulatory pathways for a much needed stable, standardized and quality yield. It is all the more critical when individual hemp seeds sell for significantly varying rates. Now that hemp has been defined as an agricultural commodity at the federal level, it should have access to the same services as any other commodity crop. However, the rulemaking process assigned to that statutory declaration is not yet finalized, creating frictions and related risk.
Colorado’s Leading Hemp Seed Program Positioned at the forefront of the US hemp industry for several years, Colorado is a national leader in building a stable and healthy hemp market. As such, it is one of the few states to sponsor a seed certification program. The Colorado program – one of several state-led hemp initiatives – thoroughly managed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) and the Colorado Seed Growers Association (CSGA) requires that before certification seeds must be:
1. Accepted by the Variety Review Board: CSGA or the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) 2. Statewide testing of the genetics for THC content and validation of the variety description by the CDA. 3. Seed produced by a Colorado Seed Growers Association member in accordance with AOSCA standards or an approved seed certifying agency. 4. Individual seed packages being tagged with “CDA Approved Certified Seed” tags.
These stringent requirements assure growers that they will get a stable seed. Although breeding, cultivating, and finding stable, consistent hemp varieties is a lengthy process that takes several years, it pays off for the long-term. Stability translates into efficiency throughout the agricultural process: from harvest to extraction.
PSC’s Agricultural Division The foundation of our business is PSC’s agricultural division (previously Potent Ltd.), ensuring that our agricultural practices meet the highest industry standards. The agricultural team directs our breeding program, housed at PSC’s research farm in Colorado’s Western Slope area, and our commercial hemp fields while employing a range of agro-technical methods and drip irrigation techniques. Additionally, it oversees growth and cultivation protocols, administers various genetic field trials, and is a partner in one of Colorado’s largest extraction facilities.
At PSC, we follow the highest agricultural and industry standards and protocols. Each step in our processes is backed by lab analysis and tests – including tests administered by third parties. Our fields are grown organically with no use of pesticides, and we continuously invest resources in maintaining these strict standards. In every phase of
We consider ourselves to be among Colorado’s hemp pioneers. One of our core objectives has always been to learn and work with the experts and professionals at the CDA’a hemp program.
The PSC breeding program is based on classic-genetic methods (selection and crossing), and all of our research is conducted in our Colorado farm. We are in the continuous process of developing elite parental lines, which are then crossed to create new hemp hybrids. Our breeding focuses on rich hemp varieties, high in CBD as well as other cannabinoids, with great adaptability to diverse climate conditions and mechanical harvest. We use the latest technologies, such as DNA markers (snips) and analytic labs, to define the cannabinoid profile of the new hybrids. Selected hybrids are tested during their growing phase to ensure selection of the best performing varieties.
B-11 Hemp Strain B-11 is PSC’s in-house hemp seed variety, which we have been cultivating and developing over the last five years in different fields across Colorado. In 2018, the B-11 variety was approved by the CDA and the CSGA as a certified and exclusive industrial hemp variety. Lab tests conducted by the CDA yielded consistently positive results, ensuring that THC levels are below the 0.3% threshold.
Our main goal is to collaborate with our growing partners and farmers.