Editor's Note: This story was updated Jan. 27 to incorporate comments that Marguerite Bolt provided to Hemp Grower.
A new Purdue University course will educate multiple professionals in the hemp industry, including growers, consultants, hemp product manufacturers and salespeople, on numerous aspects of the crop.
Hemp Essentials, a self-paced, online offering, will touch on hemp’s ancient and modern uses, production, supply and demand and more, according to a press release from the university.
“You can find these things separately, but nothing else goes into this depth in one place,” Marguerite Bolt, hemp extension specialist at Purdue, was quoted as saying in the release. “You’re going to get a comprehensive view of the hemp industry.”
Bolt, the course’s main developer and instructor, told Hemp Grower that the university does not currently offer any credit-based courses that are specific to hemp. Hemp Essentials is a non-credit course, but students can print a certificate upon completion. (Bolt is also the author of Hemp Grower’s “From the Field” column, which focuses on specific hemp production topics.)
She stated in the release that she frequently receives communications about new markets for hemp and products made from hemp. The crop can be used to make everything from flooring to animal bedding and automobile parts.
In explaining to HG some segments that she is excited to teach, Bolt said she spent much time on a management module that will highlight integrated pest management and field scouting.
“[Scouting] is something I think every grower needs to be doing, so I wrote it in a way that lays out all the tools and the methodology for scouting,” Bolt said.
In addition, she said, “I also did several illustrations for the hemp anatomy section, and I am pretty proud of showing those off.”
Bolt said she will teach students about changes that could occur in the industry due to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new final rule and will link to comments on the rule.
Some of the course information is focused on Indiana, but it largely applies to the Midwest and other regions, according to the press release. The lessons will include “abundant interactive and multimedia content.”
The course costs $500 for Indiana residents and $550 for students who live out of state, according to the release, which further states: “There are no prerequisites, but a basic understanding of plants and soil is recommended.”