Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- The South Carolina Department of Agriculture selected twenty industrial hemp growers to participate in their pilot program back in December 2017. Now, since the crop has had some time to harvest, one farmer in Sumter said he is growing his for a different use then the others.
“It’s a diverse plant with a lot of use from fiber to grain to medicinal,” Nat Bradford said.
Bradford is a farmer by trade and said since college he always wanted to have the opportunity to grow hemp. When the chance with the state came, he jumped at it.
“The spirit of the farmer here in South Carolina I think we’re going to take South Carolina agriculture, in particular with this crop, take it beyond the other states,” Bradford said.
Bradford is one of twenty farmers across the state selected for the industrial hemp pilot program, but he said the other nineteen are growing for the medicinal use. Whereas he is focused on using it for food production.
“Everybody eats, not everybody needs CBD oil,” Bradford said. “And our market, since we’re based as a food farm, we’re focusing on that market where everybody eats.”
He said hemp is a source for high protein and high fiber. It can be used in protein shakes and baked goods. Bradford is also using his platform to take away the negative connotation associated with industrial hemp.
“People associate industrial hemp with marijuana and they are the same genes in species,” Bradford said. “But the thing is wolves, and I use this example a lot, wolves and dogs are the same genes in species, but nobody is going to look at a Chihuahua and Great Dane and say they’re one in the same. “They’re so vastly different from each other, it’s the same thing with marijuana and industrial hemp.”
Bradford said he has already applied to continue growing and researching next year with the program. He could be licensed to harvest on 40 acres, but said there is still a lot to learn from the research to grow on that much of land.