HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania will expand the opportunities to grow industrial hemp in 2018. From fewer than 50 total acres in 2017, next season’s crop could cover 5,000 acres or more. Next year, the Commonwealth will permit up to 50 individual growers or institutions of higher education to grow up to 100 acres apiece. Last year, the PA Agriculture Department limited the number of growers to 30, each of whom could grow no more than five acres. The 2014 federal Farm Bill paved the way for Gov. Wolf to sign Pennsylvania’s Industrial Hemp Research Act into law in 2016, which allows researchers from institutions of higher education and individual growers contracting with the state Department of Agriculture to apply for permits to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Industrial hemp was grown to produce fiber, food, and seed with more recent uses including bio-fuel and materials to replace fossil-fuel-based plastics.