6:00 pm CDT, Sunday, June 9th, 2019, Giltner, NE
Working with a flag emblazoned with “Let Farmers Grow Hemp” in the distance, and dressed in T-shirts made from hemp with the words “Return of the Plant” printed on them, The Bish brothers (Jacob & Andrew) and Eliana Bish (Andrew’s Daughter) work to put some very important seeds into the soil. Today marks the day for the first legal (non-university) hemp plot to be grown in the State of Nebraska since the 1950s, which was grown as a part of the Marihuana Tax Act which brought much-needed fiber to the U.S. troops and allied forces in WWII.
The Bish brothers decided to grow the two small test plots this year using Nebraska Heirloom Hemp (also known as feral hemp, wild hemp, or even sometimes referred to by the slang term “ditch-weed” – all of which is “native” to Nebraska since the 1940’s). Nebraska Heirloom Hemp is exempted from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDAG) licensing requirements, under Section 4 of the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act, which went into effect on Thursday, May 30th, 2019. While the Bish’s worked to get the heirloom hemp exemption into the bill, they both credit the idea to Bill Achord who mentioned it during a planning meeting they had in February of this year.
The purpose of the grow is two-fold according to Andrew Bish, who states that “the primary purpose is to identify what qualities that Nebraska Heirloom Hemp may have relative to the current or future marketplace based on its flower, stalk, and seed composition” and “the secondary purpose of this project is to just get some hemp planted so we can get this movement of growing hemp in Nebraska underway. Somebody has to start”.
“Hemp is the future of agriculture”, said Jacob Bish, “and the adoption of hemp in agricultural driven states, such as Nebraska, marks a real turning point in turning hemp from a specialty crop to a real commodity in the U.S.”
The Bish Brothers are planting two plots, one to research the seed and stalk characteristics when planted as a traditional row-crop, and a second plot to identify the spectrum of cannabinoids found in the flower. The first plot will be grown and treated as a traditional row-crop, which both Jacob & Andrew believe will be where Nebraska’s strength in the hemp market will come from, while the second plot will be grown in a more traditional “vegetable crop” style grow, which will require much more attention and labor. Ironically, the plots were hand-planted, and the ground was hand-tilled, just as much of it was done before hemp prohibition occurred, despite the fact that they both work at a business that is predicated on building and designing machines that mechanize agriculture production. “It is hard work, but the research we do in these small plots here in Nebraska in 2019 has the potential to benefit research institutions around the world”, said Jacob Bish.
Jacob and Andrew attempted to work with the University of Nebraska this year on a research plot, but the NDAG stood in the way of that project getting off the ground. “The current executive administrators of our state government doesn’t appear interested in doing the right thing here, but we are, so we will do the right thing on our own”, said Andrew Bish, “We are breaking zero laws, and we are laying the foundation of a huge economic boost that Nebraska farmers need. Today is about helping Nebraska farmers, the backbone of this states economy:”
When Andrew was asked if he had any messages for Nebraska State leaders or regulators, he had this to say: “There is one person responsible for the slow progress Nebraska has made in adopting this plant as a commodity, Governor Pete Rickets, and to him I do have a message: Mr. Governor, We’ve got plants in the ground. Molon Labe!”
For more information, please contact Jacob Bish or Andrew Bish via email @ Jacob.Bish@Bishcom.com or Andrew.Bish@Bishcom.com respectively.