Pennsylvania on Sunday awarded $392,265 in grants to three agriculture non-profits to fund fiber and food hemp market awareness in the state. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the grants will “feed the growth of an industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is once again growing opportunities for new businesses, farm income, jobs, and climate-smart, environmentally sound products.” 

Vytal Plant Science Research received the largest grant – $315,765 – to introduce a STEM curriculum to high schools and universities to effectively engage in industrial hemp production, management, and cultivation by promoting and marketing industrial hemp for its many uses such as food, fiber, fuel, industrial, and personal care products. 

Vytal is a non-profit that sponsors research at Penn State Harrisburg’s Central Pennsylvania Research and Teaching Laboratory for Biofuels. 

The Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council was awarded $56,000 for an awareness campaign to promote the benefits of hemp and create new markets for hemp-based products. 

The U.S. Ecological Advanced Research & Conservation Hub Hemp Certificate Program for Disadvantaged Communities (USEARCH) was awarded $20,500 to develop an educational program for disadvantaged communities including youth, veterans, and women to enable them to get involved in the hemp industry.   

Grant funds will reimburse up to half of the project costs. In all, the state Agriculture Department has invested $1.5 million in the state’s hemp industry. In January, the agency awarded $200,000 in grants to three non-profits in the state. 

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