Kern Community College District (KCCD) has approved an important public-private partnership between Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC) and Apothio, LLC, for researching and growing industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis, legal in all 50 states. Changes to federal and state law that began in 2014, and continued most recently in late December with the passage of the 2018 “Farm Bill,” have restarted hemp cultivation in the United States. KCCD on behalf of CCCC are leasing property in California City to Apothio to conduct research on hemp cultivation, processing, and marketing, and the partnership will provide funding for future educational and research opportunities by selling hemp products.
The hemp market in the U.S. is growing rapidly after several decades of cultivation being illegal domestically (some hemp products were available during that time from imported sources). Kern County has ideal growing conditions for hemp, and the industry will need a highly trained workforce to support it. CCCC sees great opportunity for students and faculty, as well as opportunity to provide skilled employees to hemp farms, processors, and sellers.
The effort to lease the property that is owned by KCCD was spearheaded by the college's President, Jill Board. She highlighted the fact that CCCC would be on the leading edge of an emerging agricultural industry in California that is vital for farmers needing crops that use less water, when she presented the partnership to the KCCD Board of Trustees. After the Board approved the agreement, President Board said, “The approval to execute this partnership agreement will not only be beneficial for the college, but also the town of California City and most importantly our students who reside in the community who will now have an opportunity to learn by doing in an emerging AG lab setting.”
Apothio will soon begin preparing the approximately 20 acres in California City for the upcoming 2019 growing season. The net revenue from hemp sold off the farm will be provided to a soon-to-be-formed foundation that will fund further research and educational work.
For additional information, contact Cerro Coso Director of Public Relations Natalie Dorrell at (760) 384-6260.