It caught my eye that the McCook Farm, Ranch & Hemp Expo took place last week. Horse sales and ag exhibitors were featured alongside expert panels on the cultivation of hemp, a crop that is returning to the ag sector in Nebraska following the 2018 Farm Bill allowing industrial hemp.
That might be a surprising sounding event for Red Willow County since the idea of hemp may be maligned by some as more of a social issue. But it's an economic subject for discussion all over Nebraska now that Legislature passed its own corresponding legislation to open the process for hemp producers to receive licensing. There is still a controversy brewing about how many applications are being approved by the state.
When legislation to authorize industrial hemp in Nebraska was debated, there were questions from ag producers in the Legislature about whether there was a practical market for the crop in Nebraska in the first place.
Our answer is that it's up to entrepreneurs to figure out if hemp is a viable income stream for agriculture or any other business.
Taking the risk to create new and valuable products and services is what free enterprise is all about. Maybe, given the opportunity, hemp entrepreneurs will create something government committees could scarcely imagine would be of interest in a place like McCook!