Industrial Hemp History: Hemp for Victory! 

A Call to Action for American Farmers During World War 2

In 1942, as World War 2 shook the world at its foundation, a rallying cry to American farmers was sent out by the United States Department of Agriculture. A significant amount of rope, cloth, cordage, and other supplies was needed to support the war effort. Unfortunately, the sources of industrial fiber that made those goods were located in overseas countries currently occupied by Axis forces.  

Thankfully, the call for support resonated with America’s agricultural community and for the first time since the marijuana tax act of 1937; industrial hemp was once again grown throughout the nation. Farmers registered for federal permits and a tax stamp in order to legally grow industrial hemp. With a lofty goal of 50,000 acres of hemp in the year 1943, all farmers applying were welcome, and those in Kentucky and Wisconsin had the ideal land to grow it in high quantity and quality. 

With the classic, heartfelt tune of my old Kentucky home playing in the background; Hemp for Victory informed farmers on the best practices of growing hemp. The video reintroduced the crop, provided information on where it can be grown, how it can be harvested, and also displayed how the retting process takes place.  

The video also discussed the many uses of industrial hemp to show the American public its potential; showing the old Kentucky River Mill in Frankfort, Kentucky to illustrate the process of making rope, twine, and cordage.  

As we anticipate the reintroduction of industrial hemp, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on the once vital crop’s history in America. With the assistance of videos such as this, we can start to understand industrial hemp’s historic potential, and how it can once again be a staple crop for our nation.