|HEMPOLOGY.ORG: THE STUDY OF HEMP
We have seen a future for American hemp, as well as the past. Certainly the history of American hemp for the last seventy some years has been a confused and tortuous one. Before that, the historical record relates no such problems; indeed, there is a long, rich tradition dating back at least to the time of the Nation,s founding. First Presidents advocated the production of hemp and its` products as a commodity essential to the growth of the young country. Some, such as Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, actually grew hemp on their own farms. Jefferson and Franklin are reported to have even smuggled hemp seed out of France and into the fledgling nation. Then, as in most places today, a country,s hemp was valued highly, and its hemp seeds were closely guarded. Since 1937, in the United States, hemp has been demonized, with brief respite only during the WWII years, a time of national crisis.
The American demand for various hemp products is strongly increasing and yet we do not, or may not have the means to supply any of that market. We must look to other counties for direction, as we have lost our ability to grow and produce hemp products in the relatively short period of fifty-five years. It seems certain that American farmers will grow hemp to meet the needs of producers of, seed, fiber, and pulp industries, existing and future. It is impossible to imagine what all the future uses of hemp may be, but it is certain that the versatility of this plant will yield many products not yet dreamed of. Since hemp will be grown again commercially in the US, to satisfy domestic requirements, it seems logical that American seed hemp will need to be produced, in order to provide the best seed varieties for local areas. There may be great value in preserving what feral remnants remain and utilizing this germplasm in a plant-breeding program to develop the hemp varieties of the future. Other countries have continued to develop their own hemp varieties bred for the production of specific end product uses, and selected for local growing conditions.
We have recognized feral hemp as an important starting point for development and selection of what may be the American hemp of the future. Clearly, these populations contain their own genetic survivability traits, and other discernible characteristics, which may be significant in terms of hereditablity. Therefore, we have taken responsibility for documentation of feral hemp locations, in order to have this information available when the time is right for preservation and further research. Somehow, past US research in hemp progeny selection has been neglected, or ignored; even the National Seed Storage Laboratory at Ft. Collins, CO has lost, forever, the hemp germplasm collection, with which entrusted. Feral hemp, then, likely represents the best possible chance to recover and replace unique genetic material, and perhaps replicate some of the superior cultivars developed by Dewey and others in the earlier Twentieth Century. The most knowledgeable experts today realize the significance and import of land race or feral hemp populations as a repository for valuable genetic material and as a valuable resource for selection and development.
American Eagle Seeds has been established as, a private company, to research and develop American hemp. Our first goal is to document the existing locations of feral hemp stands to enable collection at the appropriate time. Historical records are researched to determine the likely heritage of various populations. Certain morphological traits can be observed as distinct and these clues are helpful in determining if some suitability may exist for incorporation into various breeding programs, intended for specific objectives. We welcome cooperative efforts with serious parties interested in hemp trials or research studies involving American hemp. Let it be known that our company will hold ourselves to the highest ethical business standards, and will expect those with whom we work, to have like obligations. Consumers want products made from hemp. Producers require raw materials from suppliers. Materials suppliers need to obtain produce from farmers. Farmers demand top quality seed stock to maximize their yield. In that regard, we would like to be of assistance.
Craig D. Putnam