Updated: May 04, 2021 05:34 PM
Created: May 04, 2021 04:42 PM
(ABC 6 News) - As a part of her 99 county tour this year, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst made several stops in north Iowa on Tuesday.
In Cerro Gordo County, Ernst stood at the center of a silo while hearing from members of Nicholas Hemp Farm about issues facing the industry.
With 15 acres, Greg Nicholas grows one of the largest amounts of hemp in the state. He believes it could become the next big crop.
“I firmly believe that hemp will be the third crop in the rotation in the next 20 - 25 years,” said Nicholas. “The ethanol that you can make off of hemp fiber is five times cheaper than made with corn.”
“The fiber is very, very strong and can be used in a number of products. It’s really exciting to see a bill that we constructed in the United States Senate actually coming to fruition with a new type of agricultural product here in Iowa,” Ernst said.
The farmers say the potential for the plant is limitless, but they need the continued support of politicians like Ernst to make their work easier.
Ernst told the farmers there’s no guarantee she can help, but she’ll try.
“The reason we were interested in growing hemp is because at the time last year, corn and beans were going nowhere,” said Nicholas.
“Diversifying the crop is one way to hopefully have at least a good crop in one area if something else should fail or not produce,” Ernst said.
Before stopping in Cerro Gordo County, Ernst visited at a family farm in Hancock County. After her tour of the hemp farm, she met with Charles City FFA students in Floyd County to tour their new greenhouse.
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