“We’re mainly into the production of industrial hemp and when I say industrial hemp that is hemp that’s less than 0.3% THC level,” Department Chair for Agriculture and Horticulture, Keith Knudson said.
Knudson, a professor at Dakota College at Bottineau, is part of a first-of-its-kind hemp industrialization program on campus introduced in the fall of 2020 through the Department of Agriculture.
“The main area is production where they learn to propagate some of the hemp plants, what the nutrient needs of the plant are, the light needs of the plant are and then also we have that ability to press oil out of hemp seed too,” Knudson said.
This is beneficial for students like Quinn Renfandt, of Minot, who has long had an interest in owning his own hemp business.
“Kind of being around something that you don’t really get to see in an unregulated space and kind of having the actual opportunity to have a hands-on feel for what goes into the nature of the plants themselves,” Renfandt said.
In order to educate students on how to do this successfully and legally, professors even have a specific course geared toward regulations.
“We spend quite a bit of time we have a specific class just for rules and regulations so students understand what they need to do to meet the rules and regulations both on a state and federal level,” Knudson said.
Renfandt says he has learned a lot while on his way to his Associates of Applied Sciences, and a future career, which Knudson says is the end goal for those enrolled.
“I’ve been looking at doing hemp growing myself so I’ve been looking at using some family land to actually participate in the research as well as the new enterprises that are available,” Renfandt said.
“Just to provide students with the ability to go right out into the workforce and to kind of work right into whatever position that they’re at,” Knudson said.
The hemp researched by students and faculty is the kind found in common consumer products like oils and fabrics.