Friday, February 28, 2020

State Rep. Fetgatter comments on House passage of Industrial Hemp legislation

Fetgatter Comments on Passage of Industrial Hemp Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 27, 2020) – Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) today commented on the passage of a concurrent resolution that promises to advance the industrial hemp industry in Oklahoma.

House Concurrent Resolution 1015 recognizes that research, development, processing, manufacturing and production of industrial hemp qualifies for Oklahoma state incentives.

“Oklahoma needs to be the center of industrial hemp manufacturing,” Fetgatter said. “Just like our new state logo shows our state as a multi-faceted hub, we believe this resolution will strengthen what our farmers are able to do with this product and attract new businesses such as biotech companies, industrial-grade producers and manufacturers to our state as well.”

Fetgatter said he worked with leaders from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the state Department of Agriculture on the legislation so the industrial hemp industry can utilize state commerce incentives for manufacturing and processing.

Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen said, “We are happy to help find incentives that hemp growers and manufacturers will qualify for. We can help find locations, whatever they need. We are excited to welcome this industry to our state.”

Jon Chiappe, director of research with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said, “Our agency is a problem solver, ensuring we help our businesses address any barriers that would keep them from being successful in our state.”

Fetgatter said the resolution is a continuation of legislation passed in 2018 by House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City) and State Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-Oklahoma City), which allowed Oklahoma farmers to participate in a pilot program to grown industrial hemp.

Fetgatter said industrial hemp has been grown in America since the Colonial period and has been used for products ranging from textiles to paper and rope to modern-day construction materials and fiberboards. He said hemp is a protein that can be ingested by both humans and livestock. He said the product is low-cost and generally low-input as a crop and is believed to have strong market potential because of its diversity of uses.

He said Oklahoma is a perfect place to grow industrial hemp as a rotation crop, noting it increases soil fertility and nutrients and reduces soil erosion and crop stress from weeds as well as limiting concentration of pests.

“This will benefit our agriculture producers and give our farmers a way to add to their income,” Fetgatter said. “It also will prompt research institutions to further their studies of this product.”

HCR 1015 passed the House with a vote of 69-4 and now passes to the state Senate for consideration. State Sen. Lonnie Paxton (R-Tuttle) is the Senate author of the resolution.

Rep. Scott Fetgatter represents District 16 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Muskogee, Okmulgee, Tulsa and Wagoner counties.


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