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ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Industrial hemp is rapidly growing in the state of South Carolina, as well as the expectation that the emerging crop will increase the standard of the multi-billion dollar agribusiness industry. SC State University 1890 Research & Extension has partnered with BrightMa Farms to host the Next Wave of Hemp webinar on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. The virtual forum is free; however, registration is required to attend. To register, visit bit.ly/hempscwebinar.

In an effort to educate and champion the hemp industry in South Carolina, attendees can expect to gain an understanding of how the state builds an industrial supply chain and infrastructure for a green future through the three I’s: innovation, industry and infrastructure.

“South Carolina has limitless potential in contributing to the growth of the state’s economy,” said Dr. Louis Whitesides, vice president and executive director for SC State 1890 Research & Extension.

“As the hemp industry continues to develop, discussions presented at the upcoming webinar will play an important role in providing potential opportunities in industry, innovation and infrastructure that just might lead to the next wave of South Carolina’s hemp industry,” Whitesides continued.

The webinar will feature panelists with expertise in cultivation, processing, banking, university research, government, advocacy and emerging markets covering the hemp market space.

Panel representatives from the program’s eight strategic partners include: SC State University 1890 Research & Extension, BrightMa Farms, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Hemp Growers Association, South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Clemson Extension, Optus Bank and Blue Water Green Bridge.

“Education is the number one opportunity—educating farmers, communities and industries about the added benefits of hemp as a sustainable industrial manufacturing material and its contributions in a circular economy,” said Harold Singletary, CEO of BrightMa Farms. “Our call to action is championing South Carolina’s industrial hemp by educating and advocating, while developing strategic partnerships with sustainability driven companies working to build a supply chain that protects farmers and allows the state’s hemp industry to flourish by diversifying our offerings.”

Hemp is used for many commercial and industrial products such as food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulations, oils, cosmetics, fibers and biofuels. It was legalized in 2018 due to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill,) which removed the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Both hemp and marijuana stem from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa, however, they differ in concentrations of THC. Federal and South Carolina laws define hemp as any part of the plant with a THC concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent. Anything above that percentage is considered marijuana and is illegal in the state.

For more information, contact Harold Singletary, CEO of BrightMa Farms, at harold@brightmafarms.com or Elizabeth Mosely-Hawkins, director of marketing and communications for SC State University 1890 Research & Extension, at emosely@scsu.edu.