University of Maryland Extension


2019 Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program

Thank you for your interest in partnering with the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. We are committed to the success of Maryland agriculture.

We understand that Industrial Hemp has the potential to be a cash crop for Maryland. As Maryland’s Land-Grant University, it is our goal to help support Maryland’s agricultural productivity and profitability. Our goal with this program is to develop a production research partnership program and outreach for the betterment of Maryland hemp production. 

Given the large number of farmers interested in Maryland’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program in partnership with University of Maryland, we will be undertaking an application process to select farmers to participate in research with us. The applications will identify the most eligible farmers based on a variety of parameters including geographical location, soil type, and access to production equipment, experience with applied-field research projects, and other important factors that will enhance the research goals for the betterment of Maryland hemp production. Our partnerships will focus on good research techniques and the ability to develop valuable outreach programs to help improve production knowledge of industrial hemp in Maryland. Unfortunately, not all farmers will be selected. Completion of this application does not guarantee partnership with UMD.

Under Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) regulations, an Institution of Higher Education (IHE) will be able to contract only with individual growers meeting certain qualifications to grow industrial hemp for agricultural or academic research.  Such growers must:

1.    Be at least 18 years old;

2.    Pass a criminal background test with no felony convictions in the past 10 years;

3.    Own or lease with the approval of the owner, the property used to grow and cultivate hemp;

4.    Have the site registered and approved with MDA before contracting to grow or cultivate hemp;

5.    Grant MDA permission to enter and inspect the property to ensure compliance with the requirements of this chapter;

6.    Only grow hemp on land zoned for agricultural purposes which is at least 1,000 feet from a school or public recreation area;

7.    Post a sign on the certified site notifying the public that the site is used in a pilot program to grow industrial hemp; and

8.    Attend an MDA orientation session explaining the regulation’s requirements, in cooperation with the IHE, before contracting to grow or cultivate hemp.


If you are interested and believe you will be a valuable partner with the University of Maryland, complete the application and submit it via mail to the address listed on the application along with a $50 non-refundable application fee by March 20, 2019. The application can also be sent via email to, but will not be reviewed until the application payment is received. The selection process will proceed in two phases. First, an initial screening of applications will identify partners eligible for on-farm interviews by March 26, 2019. University field faculty will then conduct on-farm interviews during the first week of April to finalize our 2019 partners. Please note that selection for an on-farm interview does not guarantee partnership in 2019. Then, final section of partners will be determined by April 15, 2019. After the partnership is developed and a memorandum of understanding is mutually agreed upon, partners will remit a participation fee of $2000 to the University of Maryland by April 22, 2019. If the participation fee is not received by the deadline, partners will be ineligible to work with University of Maryland in 2019. After completion of the memorandum of understanding, the applicant can then complete the application to MDA to participate in the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program. Upon MDA certification, University field faculty will begin assisting partners with pilot program hemp production. If a partner’s MDA application is rejected, the UMD participation fee will be refunded.

Completion of the application process outlined above is the only method to formally request partnership with the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 


Application Timeline

Application available on website

March 8

Application deadline – application and non-refundable application fee must be received by University of Maryland by close of business

March 20

Applicants selected for on-farm interviews notified

March 26

On-farm interviews of eligible applicants

Week of April 1, 2019

Final partners selected for pilot program notified

April 15

Deadline for payment of participation fee – must be received by University of Maryland by close of business

April 22

 2019 Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program Application located here.

We embody the University's land-grant mission with a commitment to eliminate hunger, preserve our natural resources, improve quality of life, and empower the next generation through world-class education.

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