Rebecca Dywer is Illinois State’s first agronomy graduate student to study industrial hemp production. She is collecting data to help establish guidelines that producers can use in growing industrial hemp in Illinois.

Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop banned in the state for nearly 80 years. In 2019, Illinois had more than 600 hemp growers—all operating without a growing guide specific to the state.

With more than 25,000 recognized end uses, industrial hemp will create an economic system for farmers looking to add a crop to their rotation. Products range from building materials to use in clothing and rope.

ISU was awarded a University Research License from the Illinois Department of Agriculture this year. The ISU Hemp Project is based on the University’s Research Farm and led by Dr. Nicholas Heller, assistant professor of crop sciences in the Department of Agriculture.