Look out, milk. The dairy farms of Wisconsin may have a new competitor for field space. America’s Dairyland joined the ranks of more than 30 other states Thursday when Governor Scott Walker signed a bill which permits the farming of industrial hemp, as reported by The Associated Press.
The state Legislature had previously passed the bill unanimously. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer, said via Twitter that he hopes Wisconsin can become a major player in the nation’s hemp production, and included what could perhaps become the state’s newest nickname, #AmericasHempland.
Maybe it’s not surprising, given that it was graced by the hand of the great union-buster Scott Walker, that there a few bummers attached to the law. For one, the plants can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. For another, those who have prior drug convictions will be ineligible to receive state hemp-farming licenses. Because, you know, who would want people who actually know how to grow marijuana to grow marijuana?
This new avenue of industry may be coming at exactly the right time for Wisconsin. Earlier this year, the state’s dairy farms faced serious turmoil earlier this year when Grassland Dairy Products pulled out its business with 58 dairy farms. At the time, the fear was that these farms could go out of business when Grassland’s big money dried up in April.
But so far, Wisconsin’s dairy farms have managed to survive. According to the Journal Sentinel, great efforts from the milk industry, as well as a little bit of help from the state government, have helped almost all of the dairy farms find new clients. Gov. Walker claims that 99% of the milk left stranded by Grasslands has found a new home.
But many say overproduction of milk in America and Canada could lead to Wisconsin’s dairy farms facing the same problem in the near future. That’s why maybe they ought to consider switching to hemp. Also, growing hemp is a lot less messy than the cow-milking business.
Photo via Flickr user 24oranges.nl