MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - After the passage of Former Governor Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act in 2018, farmers in Illinois have patiently waited for the opportunity to start grow hemp.
From the rule writing, to the public comment, and then to the permit application the process for two businessmen in Murphysboro is finally underway.
This old wartime crop is now considered new again to the people of Illinois.
Chuck Stuhrenberg is a the owner of Big Muddy Brewing and Ryan Kennedy is a broker for a land brokerage company. Together they come together to form Big Muddy Hemp Farms.
“It took a while to get, but now the rules are all in place and they all seem to very encouraging for farmers to start growing hemp here in Illinois - and building this new industry here,” Stuhrenberg said.
Right now, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is receiving a steady flow of applicants for hemp-growers and processors throughout the state.
Despite the rainy April weather, in the southern Illinois region, the mid-May warm weather is right on time.
“Right now is about the perfect time, it’s finally dried up enough that we can get into the field along with other farmers planting," Stuhrenberg said.
Kennedy is not new to the industry, he works with farmers and their land on the daily basis.
“It’s a budding, no pun intended, opportunity right now... for everybody, not just us," he said.
Illinois Governoer JB Pritzker said the industrial hemp is a potentially billion-dollar industry that Illinois will now take part in.
“From farming and processing to sales and exports, this will have a massive impact on our state’s economy,” Pritzker said.
“We both live in Illinois and Illinois is broke. So hopefully, this is something everybody can get involved in one way or the other. Whether it be planting or selling CBD Oil, or taking it,” Kennedy said.
Stuhrenberg plans to use the hemp to sell the fiber, extract CBD oil, and to brew a new and unique beer called Hempy Galaxy.
“We finally got something positive especially for the state of Illinois,” Stuhrenberg said.
Southern Illinois University’s Hemp Program is partnering with the local business as a informal collaboration to share knowledge and research.
As of May 15th, the hemp applications for the Illinois are still growing. Illinois Department of Agriculture received 562 Grower Apps and 153 Processor Apps, and issued 328 grower licenses and 75 processor apps.