K-State is growing hemp plants to find out what the best way to grow the plant is, and then sends them to their laboratory for testing.

It starts in the fields…

“We’re really just trying to get our hands dirty and find out how the crop grows,” explained Cary Rivard with the K-State Horticulture Department.

But then, hemp has to be tested to make sure it’s legal.

“Analyze for the concentration of THC, which we want to be lower than 0.3 percent, and they’re also interested in the concentrations of CBD,” added Eleni Pliakoni, also with the department.

Lab workers dry the plant, remove the seeds and stem, grind it, add a liquid mixture, and put it in a machine to test it.

“We realized it was a need for to provide these services to our growers,” Pliakoni added. “They really were interested to know what their plants are, what the concentrations of those compounds were.”

Farmers can only grow hemp for research this year. Each hemp farmer will have to have their crop officially tested by the Department of Agriculture.

But, results from K-State can help them understand how they’re fairing.

“They’re doing their own research and we’re testing it for them so they can confirm or deny their own research,” said a lab worker for the department.

For K-State farmers, they’re new to growing the product–just like the public.

“Trying to find different methods to grow hemp that’s going to reduce the THC and maximize the amount of CBD production within the flowers,” Rivard explained.

The plants are about ready for harvest and K-State will have the opportunity to find someone to sell them to.