Iowa farmers would be allowed to grow industrial hemp as a crop under legislation that Monday cleared the state Senate.

Senators voted 49-1 to send the Iowa House a bill authorizing the production, processing and marketing of industrial hemp in Iowa subject to federal approval and under the guidance of the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The measure was guided by the U.S. farm bill, which effectively legalized hemp production.

“This is a new era in agriculture. This is something we haven’t seen since World War II,” said Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan. “But it’s better and it truly is looking at the future of Iowa agriculture.”

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Rod Boshart