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Penn State's test hemp plot.

NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — Equipment manufacturer New Holland Agriculture has partnered with the National Hemp Association, a hemp advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., to accelerate the return of the hemp commodity crop to farms across North America, under the banner “Pushing Progress Together.”

The announcement was made Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The National Hemp Association will participate alongside New Holland at 16 national farm shows to build out the new industry and will provide educational sessions and panel discussions as well as exhibit products that can be produced from the hemp crop.

The alliance will also seek to move forward on solving the industry’s biggest challenge — the absence of commercial scale harvesting and decortication equipment uniting the demand of the product to the farmers that supply it. In order to begin laying the foundation of an integrated North American hemp supply chain, the alliance calls on other partners — corporations and entities to join a “Hemp Pledge” and commit to purchasing hemp grown and processed in the U.S. by U.S. farmers.

“We see this exclusive partnership as a way to bring the nation’s leading hemp advocates and educators to events where they can respond to the issues of most concern to farmers, manufacturers, processors and the general public,” said Brett Davis, vice president of New Holland North America. “It too will provide New Holland with the opportunity to hear from our dealer network, our customers and the more than 115,000 farmers who are looking to New Holland to bring forward supply chain solutions.”

“The 2018 Farm Bill which contains the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is the only legislation that we know of that both Senators (Mitch) McConnell and (Chuck) Schumer agree upon,” said NHA Chair and PAHIC President Geoff Whaling. “Yet we know that the biggest challenge facing this crop and restricting its return is commercial scale harvesting and decortication equipment. Without that solution, all of the promise for hemp — for the food, feed, construction, automotive, energy and textile industry — will not be realized. Our partnership with New Holland Agriculture will be the beginning steps towards that end.”

The National Hemp Association has also committed to creating and funding a new “Hemp Farmer Educational Fund” to assist farmers with agricultural, regulatory and production issues related to converting to hemp production.

Lancaster Farming