OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center is home to the world’s leading experts in hemp research. The largest of its kind in the nation, it promises to advance the research of hemp and its market potential across multiple diverse industries and research fields to serve the growing international demand for innovative approaches to food, health, and fiber.
Oregon’s location on the 45th parallel is optimal for hemp growth. In fact, a unique hemp germplasm – the material used for breeding – was developed in the state over the past several decades. Oregon authorized hemp cultivation in 2009, but the Oregon of Department of Agriculture didn’t license its first hemp grower until 2015. Just three years later, Oregon ranked 3rd in the United States in licensed hemp acres planted behind Montana and Colorado.
As of mid-May 2019, the state has licensed 1,342 growers to plant 46,219 acres this year, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. That’s up from 7,808 acres in 2018. Nationally the number of licensed acres devoted to hemp cultivation increased by 204 percent from 2017 to 2018.
As the home to more than 220 agricultural commodities, Oregon farmers and producers have the diversity of innovation expertise to successfully navigate the future development of hemp. In fact, Oregon is projected to be number one in overall profitable production land for hemp, with 20% of all production acres registered as hemp. Further, the state legislature is sponsoring a bill (HB 2740) that would form a commission similar to the existing 23 commodity commissions in the state, to direct funding for hemp research.
With the launch of the Global Hemp Innovation Center, OSU restores its original position as the nation’s premier hemp research institution. OSU was the site of the country's only hemp research center from the 1880s to the 1930s. We are the largest comprehensive hemp research center in the nation with 40 faculty across 19 disciplines conducting research in 10 locations across the state and four locations around the world in Asia and Europe. As the only hemp seed certifier in the state, and one of only four in the country, OSU is able to provide growers access to a source of certified seed for planting in the state.
OSU’s Hemp research spans the globe with partners in Europe and Asia. We’ve strategically cultivated these partnerships over the past several years in areas that are at the same latitude as Oregon with similar growing conditions and complementary research areas. Most recently, our leadership in hemp was recognized by the National Academies of Sciences which tapped OSU to host the first international hemp symposium as part of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources's 75th Anniversary celebration.
OSU’s hemp research includes the most diverse and comprehensive team of collaborative leaders in critical disciplines that touch hemp, with more than 40 faculty representing more than 19 disciplinary areas across the entire university invested in understanding hemp. Serving as a hub, the Global Hemp Innovation Center at OSU connects plant research, food innovation, pharmacy, public health, public policy, business, and engineering.