Last week I wrote about a landmark farm bill proposed in the House.  Politics aside, the bill included language to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp domestically.

  Here is an update:

  Hemp could soon be cultivated in 10 states under a federal farm bill agreement reached last week that allows the establishment of pilot growing programs.

  The plant’s return to legitimacy could clear the way for U.S. farmers to compete in an industry currently dominated by China. Even though it hasn’t been grown in the U.S., the country is one of the fastest-growing hemp markets.

  In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of legal hemp products, up from $1.4 million in 2000. Most of that growth was seen in hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars and other products.

  State departments of agriculture still must designate hemp-cultivation pilot projects for research purposes.

  Congratulations to all those whose hard work and dedication brought this to pass.  It's a small but important step in bringing back one of Mother Nature's gifts.