Hemp Pilot Project

49% of $8,003 goal
This campaign ended on December 31, 2019, but you can still make a gift to Frostburg State University by clicking here!

The 2018 Federal Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp in the US for the first time in 81 years. This year, the Maryland Department of Agriculture created the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program to be implemented by approved growers this season!

The Frostburg State University Biology Department is working with Backbone Food Farm to conduct a 100 plant trial on their Garrett County farm. Farm owners Max Dubansky and Katharine Shepherd Dubansky ‘95 have been growing Certified Naturally Grown, chemical free produce, berries, gourmet mushrooms, and pastured livestock for the Allegany and Garrett County community for 20 years. Backbone Food Farm will be providing their skills, along with the tools and land to begin this collaborative effort.

The Hemp Project will lay the groundwork for growing industrial hemp in western Maryland. As this crop has not been grown here before, the identification of best practices and best varieties will lead to a more productive industry and economic development. In addition, research opportunities for students will be possible in the areas of ecology, chemical analysis, and agronomy.

The success of this project will be measured with the identification of industrial hemp varieties that are best suited for growth in western Maryland, providing valuable information for Maryland growers on how to improve profitability and help alleviate some of the unknown factors that go along with the growth of a new crop. This is especially true for farm to market operations that are the hallmark of this area.

Benefits of Hemp

The hemp plant has so many purposes, including but not limited to:

*fiber for clothing, upholstery and linens

*composite materials for manufacturing

*bio-plastics that can replace fossil fuel based plastics

*building materials

*human and animal medicines derived from CBD rich hemp strains

*livestock feed and bedding

*food – hemp seed and hempseed oil

Hemp is said to top $1 billion US dollars in sales in the US in 2019, and projected to exceed $2.5 billion in 2020. Currently, the majority of consumer hemp products are imported from China, Canada, and Europe. US farmers are poised and ready to grow the crop here, revitalize rural economies and small farms, and bring sustainable development to our communities.

How You Can Help Conducting this sort of research isn’t cheap—especially when it’s essentially uncharted territory! We need your financial support in order to purchase materials and supplies and off set lab and analysis and labor costs. Make your gift and be part 


Mid September has brought us to the beginning of our harvest season. We have been learning so much about peak harvest times, drying and curing, proper handling techniques for maximum quality, and lab testing for potency. Unfortunately, we are learning about hermaphroditism in hemp plants and pollination resulting in seeds!

We have harvested and hung to dry about 40% of our crop. Pest and disease presence are being monitored, with thankfully small populations in this perfect weather growing season.

So far some of our biggest costs have been for potency testing. We are gaining experience with dealing with labs, interpreting results and translating that into what it means for our harvest. A single potency test for one variety to determine THC and CBD levels is $65. We have 4 varieties growing in two trial areas, and will need to test several times. Your contribution helps us to cover those costs so we can do this accurately and often enough to give us meaningful data.

Thanks for giving and sharing, we will keep you updated! 

1670 days ago by Kathleen McGreevy
Update! The hemp seedlings are ready to be planted!

Our seedlings in the greenhouse have reached size to be planted out! With help from Dr. Puthoff our trial plot was mapped out and we got 50% of the plants in the ground.

Dry weather is here and today we will plant the remaining 50% outside in their designated plot. We are so happy to move on this next phase of the journey.

Thank you to all of you who have been supporters of our new endeavor! 

We are putting your gifts to good use, and feel very positive about this new frontier in agriculture! Please help us spread the word and share our campaign with your networks!


1750 days ago by Kathleen McGreevy
Thank you for supporting the Hemp Pilot Project!

Thank you to everyone who has given so far.

Please share this campaign to help us reach our goal!

1759 days ago by Kathleen McGreevy

Donor Maps
Class LeaderboardThe Class Leaderboard reflects giving from Alumni, Students, Parents
AffiliationDonors$ Raised
Donor Affiliations
Gradhat icon15%Alumni
Parent icon3%Parents
Suitcase icon5%Faculty/Staff
Friends icon49%Friends
Most Recent Donors
Kim Marker photo
Kim Marker
Tricia Walker photo
Tricia Walker
Avril L Williams photo
Avril L Williams
Mary Ann Harden photo
Mary Ann Harden
Stephen Mogge photo
Stephen Mogge
Josh Brown photo
Josh Brown
An Anonymous Donor
Nancy Morris photo
Nancy Morris
An Anonymous Donor
View All Donors


Community Advocates photo
generated 147 clicks and 9 gifts, totaling $480
Katharine Dubansky photo
generated 292 clicks and 3 gifts, totaling $60
Jody Walker photo
generated 2 clicks