Local hemp farmers appeal to state legislators to end acreage restrictions

Franklin County

WHATELY, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts farmers Friday appealed to their state legislators to end restrictions on the number of acres they’re permitted to grow hemp.

Hemp is a milder type of cannabis and a product used in the manufacture of clothing and other merchandise.

Western Massachusetts state legislators heard from Scott Hutkoski, the owner of Long Plain Farm in the Franklin County town of Whately.

Hutkoski told 22News, because of state restrictions he’s allowed to use only 8 of his 120-acre farm to grow hemp. A State House passed bill, now pending in the Senate, would permit him to grow hemp on 20 acres.

Hutkoski said the ability to diversify would help western Massachusetts farmers better cope with freakish weather conditions.

“Because in just the weather in the past ten years, you don’t know what it’s going to bring,” he told 22News. “Like last year was a total disaster, with all the rain we had.”

The veteran farmer described hemp as a crop that’s far more durable to withstand the kind of weather that has washed out other crops in recent years.

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