A Henry County farmer who also serves in the Illinois General Assembly supports industrial hemp as an alternative crop.
The measure would allow a farmer to get licensed with the Department of Agriculture to plant and harvest industrial hemp. State Representative Dan Swanson farms near Alpha, he says the plant has a short growing season, grows to 15 feet tall, needs little maintenance and starves out other weeds.
He says a neighboring state already allows farmers to grow industrial hemp.
A bill awaits a House committee vote following unanimous Senate approval.
Swanson says industrial hemp would also give farmers an additional revenue stream to help offset current weak corn and soybean prices.