Wyden, Merkley: OSU Earns Federal Grant to Study Feeding Spent Hemp Biomass to Cattle

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that Oregon State University has earned a $299,950 federal Agriculture Department grant to study feeding spent hemp biomass to cattle.

“OSU’s world-renowned hemp research plus the crop’s ongoing growth possibilities add up to a potential big win for farmers and ranchers in our state and nationwide to feed their cattle with this biomass byproduct,” said Wyden, who led the successful fight to ensure farmers and ranchers could use spent grains from brewers as animal feed. “This OSU research will help to continue building the case for federal approval of hemp biomass on cattle farms, making a natural connection between two signature Oregon products – livestock and hemp.”

“Thanks to the talent and expertise of Oregon’s farmers, hemp has quickly become one of our state’s fastest growing crops—generating millions of dollars in revenue and creating reliable jobs across our state,” said Merkley, who worked with Wyden to first legalize industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. “And that was just the beginning, as we continue to find new, innovative ways to use this versatile product. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of OSU’s research into whether we can use spent hemp biomass as cattle feed, and will continue to work to secure the resources Oregonians need to keep leading the way for farmers across America.”

The $299,950 hemp biomass grant from the Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) aims to implement the safe use of hemp byproducts in livestock diets and take full advantage of their nutritional and potential medicinal properties to improve animal health and the quality of animal products.

In addition to the hemp biomass grant, OSU also earned a $299,999 NIFA grant for how to improve farm sanitation practices.

“Innovation in agriculture is central to the sector’s success and resiliency in meeting society’s demand for food, feed, fuel, and fiber. These competitively-awarded USDA NIFA grants to Oregon State University scientists show we continue to advance nationally important research on issues of direct and timely importance to Oregon agriculture,” said Dr. Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. “Our research teams are excited to move forward on this work to assess safety and benefits of hemp byproducts in livestock diets and to help farmers adopt science-informed strategies to keep their products safe from contamination. I want to thank U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for their significant efforts to support OSU research and Oregon agriculture.”