From Grey Area to Gold Rush: Establishing a Comprehensive Hemp Research Program

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Event Time:
6:00 pm

Club Programs

The 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills have progressively legalized hemp (Cannabis sativa) cultivation, sparking tremendous interest in hemp farming and processing.  While there is an established, but small, market for hemp food and fiber based products in the US that is largely supplied by hemp from China and Canada, the market for cannabidiol (CBD) is exploding.  Since there has been minimal public funding for academic research, much of the information on Cannabis biology is mostly anecdotal from marijuana growers.  Cornell CALS has assembled a multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension educators who are building a program to study hemp cultivation, pests and diseases, microbiome, agroecology, biochemistry, tissue culture and transformation, production economics, and to establish a long-term breeding program to produce new cultivars.  This talk will provide an update on key advances and barriers we have encountered in the process of normalizing academic research on hemp.

Dr. Larry Smart is a Professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and is Associate Director of Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY.  Larry is a plant geneticist and breeder whose lab uses genomic tools to accelerate the breeding shrub willow bioenergy crops and to understand hybrid vigor and pest and disease resistance.  More recently, he has been leading Cornell's hemp research and extension team and has initiated a long-term breeding and genomics program to develop new hemp cultivars for New York State.  He received his B.S. in Biology at Cornell University, Ph.D. in Genetics at Michigan State University, and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC-Davis.

6:00pm reception; 6:30pm lecture, gratis.

Members and one guest per member are invited to dine at The Club with Dr. Larry Smart following the lecture. We have updated our registration system. Registration for the post-program dinner is on a separate event page.  Please click here to access the post program dinner page.