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Hemp poised to become next big cash crop in middle Tennessee

Hemp fields in Springfield, Tenn. (WZTV)

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (WZTV) - A booming industry nationwide is gaining momentum here in Tennessee.

This weekend, hemp vendors from around the country flocked to Nashville for the Southern Hemp Expo.

Hemp came to Tennessee four years ago, and now experts and farmers believe it could turn into one of the state’s biggest cash crops.

On Sunday, dozens of people toured a hemp farm in Springfield. The plant is a type of cannabis and many already knew about it, but many others were just curious and wanted to know more about the industry.

William Corbin has been a farmer for more than 30 years, but just started with hemp about four years ago; he says hemp is a very versatile plant, with its uses ranging from grains in the food industry to extracted oils for wellness programs. He says it's an essential part of some wellness programs, especially for people who have anxiety.

“I have been using a solution of 1,000 mg twice a day over the last three years, specifically for temper,” he said.

"Spook" Spann is one of the curious ones. Spook is his nickname, but it's how most people know him. He's not confident with modern-day medicine and doesn't like pills, which is why he's looking for alternatives.

“I don't have an illness, but I just lost a sister-in-law to cancer, and my dad has cancer, my uncle has cancer,” he said.

Spann is really into health and fitness, and has his own fitness company.

“I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can and help other people learn, and this is a learning process.”

Right now, Springfield is known for tobacco, which is one of its main cash crops, but Corbin says some parts of the tobacco industry desperately need an alternative, and believes hemp is a crop that could make the small farms relevant again.

“This is an easy transition crop for tobacco growers,” Corbin said.

He says Tennessee has a great growing environment and a lot of processors have already moved here, but the industry needs just a couple more years to get things going.

Corbin also hopes and believes that hemp will soon be approved for medical purposes.

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