View Poster Application


Extension Education

Katelyn Kesheimer
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Auburn University/Alabama Cooperative Extension System


Hemp was once a major crop in the United States. However, following restrictive laws and the popularity of other less expensive fibers like cotton, production came to a halt in the middle of the 20th century. The 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills made research and commercial production of hemp legal once again, which resulted in numerous universities and producers growing this ‘new’ crop. But without a long history of hemp production in the modern era, growers were left without research-based information to optimize their operations. This knowledge gap, paired with the sudden interest in hemp, provided Extension programs a unique opportunity to connect with new growers and deliver educational programming. A needs assessment across the southeast indicated that growers were losing yield to major pests and struggling to navigate the volatile market. Further, only a small percentage of growers were utilizing their local Extension services. Therefore, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) sought to increase grower awareness of Extension resources, document major pests of hemp, and develop an integrated pest management plan for hemp in Alabama. To achieve this, we organized meetings throughout Alabama to educate stakeholders on the basics of hemp production including economics, agronomics, greenhouse production, and pests (insects, weeds, and diseases). When COVID-19 forced us to go virtual, we used webinars, fact sheets, social media, and virtual meetings to continue meeting with producers and disseminating information. ACES also worked to educate the general public on hemp and it’s various uses. As a result of our meetings, growers reported saving an average of $106 per field, with several reporting they saved their entire investment. The majority of respondents reported a knowledge gain (89%) and that they will use the information (98%) we provided. Our new hemp Facebook page reached over 7,500 people and connected with growers throughout the region. In fall 2020, we published the first Integrated Pest Management Guide for Hemp in Alabama. Finally, we conducted on-farm research with Alabama hemp growers and developed collaborative relationships. This work will continue in 2021 with a bimonthly webinar series and on-farm research with local growers.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

Click to view Poster

Authors: K.A. Kesheimer, J. Kelton
  1. Kesheimer, K. Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama, 36849
  2. Kelton, J. Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama, 36345