SUMTER, SC (WIS) - Some of the first industrial hemp plants in the state are beginning to take shape. The plants are part of a pilot program in South Carolina allowing just 20 farmers to take part.
After a visit to one of the participating farms back in July, here's how those plants are coming along.
Nat Bradford, the owner of the Bradford Family Farm in Sumter says this year is more about the harvest of information.
"Starting a new crop from scratch with new genetics for South Carolina, it's going to take some time. It's not going to be an overnight thing."
The Bradford Family Farm is one of the 20 throughout the state taking part in a pilot program to grow industrial hemp, a plant that comes from the same species as marijuana, but with a much lower concentration of the chemical THC.
"This first year, it's really about harvesting genetics. We want to have strong seeds that have proven themselves through this first season," Bradford said.
His strategy was to test out multiple strains this first year, and some did better than others. Some grew to be as high as eight feet tall, while others were much smaller.
Bradford says the smaller ones aren't a loss either.
"The other ones, the plants that survived, are the ones that we're going to save seeds on. So, those are the stronger genetics," Bradford explained.
The seeds from the hemp plant can be used to make food, clothing, and even biofuel.
On Tuesday, a new CBD Store will open in Lexington offering products made from industrial hemp. The CBD Store Lexington Store manager, Jessica Rollins, says the products are considered a safe alternative to addictive medications.
"A lot of people right now are being prescribed medications just for chronic pain, or depression - any number of things and CBD oil can help with those things."
The store will offer oils, creams, and edibles. Plus, they have dog treats, too. The products are available to people of all ages - no prescription necessary.
"It's not weed. It does not come from the marijuana plant. It comes strictly from the industrial hemp plant. So, we actually take the THC out of all of our products. So, there's no psychoactive effects or anything like that. It's completely safe to take," says Rollins.
The store helps to showcase just some of the possibilities of industrial hemp as farmers like Bradford perfect their harvest.