BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s Agriculture Department is seeking participants for the third year of the state’s industrial hemp research program.

The goal of the program is to determine whether hemp can be a successful crop in North Dakota, and which varieties work best in the state’s climate.

Producers planted more than 70 acres (28 hectares) of hemp in 2016 and more than 3,000 acres this year.

Hemp fiber and oil can be used in numerous products, but production has been limited because federal drug law doesn’t differentiate between hemp and its cousin marijuana.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says growers’ proposals for next year’s program are due at 5 p.m. on Dec. 29. Proposals will be ranked by a committee appointed by Goehring, who will make the final choices.

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