April 2020 Newsletter

By the Numbers

since inception of the Global Hemp Innovation Center

3        International hemp research groups hosted
9       Countries visited by Jay Noller to discuss hemp collaborations
12     OSU faculty groups briefed about GHIC and competitive grants
12     Research consortia
20     Hemp conferences attended
30     Formal presentations by Jay Noller and Jeff Steiner to stakeholder groups
3046 Inquiries to the GHIC hemp email account

GHIC Organization

Jeffrey Steiner (Associate Director-GHIC) stands beside Oregon Agriculture sign at Imperial Valley Research Center in Brawley, CA

GHIC Global Reach

The OSU Global Hemp Innovation Center’s name is more than aspirational: Our efforts are global in that we are actively partnering in our fifth year of research in Serbia and third year in two provinces in China. In summer of 2019, eight of the OSU research and extension centers - from the Oregon/Idaho border in Ontario, to the near-alpine conditions in northeast Oregon in Union City, to a stone throw from the Columbia River at Hermiston (and not to forget Pendleton and Morrow), to the suburbs of Portland at Aurora, to Madras in Central Oregon, Central Point in Southern Oregon, and Klamath Falls on the California border, OSU faculty began to get experience growing hemp. To extend our season-limited efforts this past year, the GHIC has partnered with the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center in Brawley, California to begin research into the performance of hemp varieties in what is the winter lettuce belt of North America. There have also been formal on-campus meetings with our Serbian and Romanian partners to coordinate research plans. Additional discussions are underway with research institutions and government programs in Thailand, Laos, and Tonga. Marking our hemp research plots with an Oregon Agriculture Industrial Hemp sign in the Imperial Valley near the U.S./Mexico border adds a whole new meaning to the slogan about our state’s agricultural reach: “Everywhere. Every Day.”

"Skip" Rochefort and Craig Markus, OSU hemp research consortia faculty leaders

Faculty-led Research Consortia

More than fifty OSU faculty are engaged with the Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC). We have begun to organize and leverage this campus-wide expertise to develop private-public research partnerships that are structured around the wide range of industries interested in hemp. The GHIC research consortia are faculty-led and organized around 12 industry sectors. A GHIC faculty advisory committee has been formed that is composed of the leaders of each of the industry sector consortia. The leaders are recruiting interested faculty and developing inventories of research interests and institutional capacities that can be offered to industry. By leveraging their and the center’s industry contacts, private-public partnerships are forming, and together the faculty and industry members will come up with shared research goals that will guide research and development priorities. Industry consortia members will be able to gain access to the GHIC global partner network. A tiered membership structure has been established with the Agricultural Research Foundation (ARF) through which consortia memberships and gifts can be received. The OSU Foundation is assisting with engagement and resource development efforts with alumni and industry partners.

Our official welcoming committee in Portland

Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences Visitors

The Global Hemp Innovation Center hosted in December 2019 and January 2020 visits by administrators and a training program for technical experts from the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (HAAS) on details of the center’s operation and the Oregon hemp industry. HAAS, the premier hemp research facility in China, is one of our important partners with their interests focused on plant breeding and genetics, fiber and textiles, harvest and post-harvest processes, and cannabis laboratory standards and certification to support international trade.

Photo: Our official welcoming committee in Portland comprised of Jess Paulson and Sunny Summers from Oregon Department of Agriculture, Courtney Moran with Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (on video link), and Sunun Setboonsarng with Business Oregon, joined GHIC director Jay Noller, center administrator Kristin Rifai and our guests Mrs. He Ning, Professor Zheng Nan, Vice Director Zhang Shuquanm, and Mrs. Fang Yuyan.

Hemp Equity Program

Equity in hemp farm tour

Hemp Equity Program Coordinator

Hemp has shaped up to be a crop produced by people with the greatest differences in backgrounds of any Oregon-based agricultural commodity. The Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC) has a value of being responsive to the questions and needs of all people, no matter their level of expertise or time engaged in agriculture. We recognize there are many stakeholders represented by historically underserved communities who don't know the well-established paths that can be followed through a land grant university to find the information, technology, and talent needed to help them be successful. We also recognize there may be those out there who have not been able to get the help they needed, and so especially now we want to be sure they too have equitable and supported access to the emerging national and global hemp markets. For all of these reasons, GHIC will be seeking a full-time coordinator who will create comprehensive strategies to engage and communicate with diverse stakeholder groups represented by historically underserved communities about hemp production and other opportunities across hemp sectors. The coordinator will produce and disseminate relevant information so stakeholders can make informed decisions about ways to participate in the emergent hemp economy. 

Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR) at CSU Pueblo (left to right) Sanghyuck Park, Nicole Quartiero, Chad Kinney, Eun Soo Kim-visiting scholar from Konkuk University

Partnership with CSU Pueblo

Colorado State University Pueblo’s (CSUP) Institute for Cannabis Research (ICR) is the nation’s first multi-disciplinary cannabis research center hosted at a regional, comprehensive state institution. The ICR was established by the Colorado Legislature to focus on regional education, research, and service addressing clinical, biotechnology, business and marketing, and environment needs of the Cannabis industry. The Global Hemp Innovation Center and ICR have formed a partnership to leverage our respective resources to impact the western U.S. The GHIC and ICR will focus on human health research, hosting an annual cannabis research conference, and leveraging our respective equity program efforts. CSUP is a Hispanic serving institution, and soon will be classified as a minority serving institution. The partnership will provide opportunities for academic and research pipelines that will provide CSUP students and faculty ways to partner with OSU faculty and be engaged in expanded graduate research programs. Oregon State University is actively pursuing strategies to diversify its student and faculty communities, and this partnership will serve as a way to accomplish that goal.

Discussing Alabama A&M Partnership (left to right ) Dr. Jay Noller (GHIC), Dr. Ernie Cebert (Alabama A&M), Dr. Jeffrey Steiner (GHIC), Dr. Rhona Miller-Cebert (Alabama A&M)

Partnership with Alabama A&M University

The Alabama A&M University (AA&M) hemp genetics research program and the Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC) have formed a partnership to coordinate uniform variety trials for essential oil hemp in Alabama, Southern California, and Oregon. Doing so will provide hemp seed companies of any scale access to high-quality in-season and off-season testing opportunities and so help them rapidly advance their genetics for the marketplace. Agreements in principle with the AA&M Vice President of Research and Dean of the College of Agriculture have been made to advance this partnership, including leveraging our respective institutional relationships in China and Eastern Europe. We will also match faculty for research partnerships across hemp industry sector research consortia. We will develop joint research projects and internships for undergraduate students and establish an academic talent pipeline between the two institutions. AA&M and GHIC will build bridges and expand networks for Black growers and other business sector participants in Oregon and Alabama, and with peers and institutions in the Southeast and other regions.

Advancing the Oregon Hemp Industry

Hemp Seed Stewardship Meeting

Oregon Hemp Seed Certification

The maturity of the Oregon hemp industry took a major step forward when the first Hemp Stewardship Meeting was convened on the Oregon State University campus to begin the process of forming an advisory committee that developed the rules for a hemp seed certification program. The Stewardship Committee also worked to develop a list of candidates to represent industry perspectives of growers, plant breeders, and processors for the different regions around the state that were then nominated and voted on to be the first Oregon Hemp Certification Advisory Committee. This process has brought hemp up to speed with all other crops managed under Oregon seed certification rules. Establishment of the advisory committee was critical to help ensure hemp varieties are true, can be described, and helps protect their ownership. OSU’s Dan Curry (Director of Seed Services), along with Andy Altishin (Program Manager, Seed Certification) and Dave Stimpson (Manager, OSU Seed Lab) stewarded the process by building upon the 100 years that seed certification has been offered in Oregon. Elizabeth Savory from the Oregon Department of Agriculture also sat in on the process.

Oregon Hemp Commodity Commission

The Oregon Legislature considered establishing a Hemp Commodity Commission. Oregon State University and others provided testimony on HR 4051 to both House and Senate Committees in public hearings supporting the bill. The bill was passed by the full House, and was awaiting action by the full Senate when the legislative session was suspended. We anticipate the bill will again be brought up when the Oregon Legislature is again convened. With a commodity commission for hemp, the state’s producers would be able to speak with a single voice on matters related to hemp to influencers and policy makers, and financial resources would be made available to advance all aspects of hemp production through research and marketing. When enacted, hemp would join the 22 commodity commissions already working for growers and harvesters in the state ranging from blueberries, ryegrass and alfalfa seed, to hops and hazelnuts, to Dungeness crab, salmon, and dairy. For details on the bill, see the link: https://lnkd.in/d28k8kB

Train the Trainer via Zoom

OSU Extension All Things Hemp Train the Trainer Event

Regardless of travel restrictions on OSU faculty and staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two-day CAS Extension Train the Trainer briefings on all things Oregon hemp was held March 31 and April 1. Over those two days, 60 OSU Extension professionals from the four corners of the state virtually gathered and gained an understanding of the hemp production cycle, state and federal programs and services, and other information that will help them and their staffs answer grower and community questions, know where to find relevant information, and make accurate referrals. The training was meant to help hemp become just like any other commodity grown in Oregon. The planning for Train the Trainer began in November long before the coronavirus pandemic was recognized. By using video conference technology, the same presentations were made, but rather than from a conference room on campus, were instead delivered and received from the comfort and safety of home offices all around the state. Thanks in part to the generosity of a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) professional development grant program with funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture that helped make this training possible, and allowed the flexibly to adjust from an in-person venue to an on-line one. We appreciate, too, our lineup of technical experts who invested their time preparing and presenting in this forum. Video recordings and materials will be made available to customize for use by OSU faculty and staff.

20-23 foot tall fiber hemp field near Novi Sad, Serbia

State-wide Hemp Harvest Debriefing

The Global Hemp Innovation Center and OSU Extension hosted two debriefing sessions involving research and extension faculty from all around Oregon. We had 38 participants over the two days who shared a lot of useful information so that all could gain new insights from their first year growing hemp at various research centers across Oregon. Through video conferencing, not only were the Oregon sites tied together, but our Eastern European research partners who were in town were also able to listen to the conversations. There are patterns emerging for similarities and differences in the ways hemp growers in different regions are managing their crops and dealing with emerging challenges. What is being learned now, both here and in Europe, will lead to the practices and systems that produce dependable results for hemp growers in the future.