The prospect of Oregon farmers growing hemp has the region’s largest agricultural lender scratching its head about how to proceed.
Although questions remain about the federal legality of growing hemp for fiber, oil, cosmetics and foods, the Oregon Department of Agriculture intends to adopt production rules in time for spring planting should farmers want to go that route, department spokesman Bruce Pokarney said. Whether farmers could get financing, as they routinely do to produce other crops, is an open question.
Northwest Farm Credit Services, the lending cooperative that specializes in loans to farmers and ranchers, hasn’t taken a position on providing money to hemp growers, regional Vice President Bob Boyle said. Most likely, it would be treated as other commodities.
“The key things you look at in financing a crop are, is there a legitimate market,” Boyle said. “And if it’s grown, will it produce enough revenue to support repayment of the loan?
“Here, you have an unknown, and along with it a number of issues that are yet to be resolved,” he said.
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