Hundreds of farmers head to Danville for the Industrial Hemp Summit

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) — The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research hosted the Industrial Hemp Summit for farmers looking to get a start in the hemp industry. With a federal farm bill being passed in December, growing hemp is legally the easiest it's been since the 1930's.

Mark Gignic, Executive Director at the institute, says this can give farmers a chance to increase their cash flow and save their farms.

"This is an opportunity for people to make more money than they ever did in tobacco," said Gignic.

Farms across the country have been struggling to keep their barn doors open. Local farmer Glenn Rodes believes this can save farms from dying out.

"If we can find another crop that adds value and increasing revenue, I don't think its the answer to all our problems, but yes, I think it will really help bring revenue to the farming economy," said Rodes

The institute also used the summit to pitch Virginia as a place for companies and processors to call home.

"We have the agricultural experience and the land, so it makes perfect sense," added Gignic.

While the industry is still growing, the institute hopes their technical resources and southside's agricultural experience will help Virginia lead the nation in the hemp industry.