DEERFIELD, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In addition to its inaugural $1.3 million private sponsorship, Green Roads has donated and coordinated delivery of the first certified hemp plants into the state of Florida in 70 years to launch the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hemp pilot research program. South Florida-based Green Roads, the largest privately owned hemp-derived CBD company in the country [Brightfield Group] is also providing “hemp grow” experts to work alongside UF scientists at four of its dedicated research and education facilities.
“These initial 50 plants -- the first to prep, propagate and plant in the state -- will set a new, exciting frontier that positions Florida for great economic advantage for generations to come,” shared Arby Barroso, co-founder of South Florida-based Green Roads who has been a leading champion of pilot program advocacy, hemp education and legislative policy-making insights to support the UF/IFAS collaboration. “Our company’s investment in financial and expert resources to support the University of Florida is all about protecting both farmers and consumers and doing this research is paramount in accomplishing that mutual goal.”
According to Arby Barroso, the historic milestone required several steps. It began with selecting the most viable collection of certified hemp plants and the intense preparation of the optimal mobile climate-controlled environment for the safe transport that was supported by cooperative regulators and coordinated arrival at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC). With 10 each of the five varieties of plants onboard, Green Roads staff began the journey of moving Florida’s inaugural hemp plants through security and inspection checks from Colorado to Florida. Green Roads provided hemp plants and seeds along with other sourced seeds and plant tissue that will be grown in Citra, Quincy and Homestead.
“Through our collaboration with Green Roads and the state of Florida, we look forward to generating the science to make hemp a dynamic industry in Florida,” notes Dr. Roger Kjelgren, director of UF/IFAS MREC. “Now that Green Roads has provided IFAS with the initial pilot plants, the real work starts as we propagate plants in preparation for late spring field plantings. We must research how much light, water and nutrients are needed to efficiently produce hemp for wise resource use and optimum yield.”
The pilot program, launched in spring 2018, is designed to explore if industrial hemp can be a successful and sustainable crop for Florida farmers. UF/IFAS scientists will study the hemp varieties suitable for planting in Florida, develop industrial hemp management practices and cropping systems economically viable for Florida and assess hemp invasion risk in Florida’s natural and greenhouse environments.
“This is truly a monumental moment for farmers,” added Barroso. “This research will allow farming family legacies to continue and thrive with its youngest generations and birth new opportunities for others. Additionally, it will increase agricultural jobs across the state and launch and/or grow industries that support the farmers and those utilizing their crops for product development, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and sales.”
Florida legislators mandated that UF commit to an industry-driven and funded research program. Field research is sponsored by Green Roads and the MREC hemp work is partially funded by donations through the UF Foundation. Research at MREC aims to understand the physiology and propagation of the hemp plant, particularly those with a high level of Cannabidiol, or CBD oil.
“Florida leads in the manufacturing of hemp plant-based CBD products, yet there are no crops grown in the state,” notes Jeff Greene, vice president of marketing for the Florida Hemp Trade and Retail Association. “Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, can you imagine the economic boom as these initial 50 plants and dozens of seed and tissue varieties change the trajectory of exponential growth on so many levels?”
Barroso reports that the reason Green Roads invests in research by such prestigious institutions as UF is to be sure Green Roads and other interested companies have access to ample supplies of highest quality hemp-based extracts and by-products for production of consumer products and other applications that include such industries as clothing, textiles, bioplastics, building/construction materials, food and beverage, forage, paints, inks, papers and beyond.
“Since our mission is to improve the lives of others, we take quality, safety and transparency very, very seriously,” shared Green Roads Co-founder and CEO Laura Baldwin Fuentes who is the licensed compound pharmacist who leads the company’s product development. “That’s why at Green Roads we third-party lab test through three different production stages for each batch of the 50 products we produce. While working in an unregulated industry, we chose from day one to set and follow stringent self-regulation policies with full consumer transparency of what is in the actual product they are buying. While this process adds great expense to our production, it is earning and maintaining consumer trust that is of greatest significance to us.”
Visit www.greenroadsworld.com to learn more about Green Roads and its 50 pharmacist-formulated CBD products that offer health and wellness specialists and patients a safe, effective alternative to toxic prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Green Roads products range from oils, edibles, capsules, terpenes, teas, coffees to creams and even a line for pets. Green Roads products are formulated in a state-of-the-art ISO clean room and manufactured in cGMP compliant facilities to ensure purity and potency. To validate that each new product batch is “clean” -- without pesticides, solvents, metals or unnatural substances -- all products are tested by a third-party lab that has ISO 17025 accreditation; test results for each product batch is accessible via the QR code on each product package.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Interviews available upon request. Contact Bonnie S. Kaye, Kaye Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-392-5166, ext. 1.