Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Engineering


Samuel A. Morton III


This project sought to characterize industrial hemp as a potential competitive agricultural commodity for the state of Virginia. Specifically, industrial hempseed was evaluated as a feedstock for the commercial broiler (meat-chickens) industry in Virginia.

Data were gathered to identify both the advantages and disadvantages of industrial hempseed as a nutritional resource for broilers. Key nutritional compositions were identified, quantified, and compared to several common feed ingredients, such as soybean, wheat, corn, and sorghum. Hempseed (whole seed) was found to have a considerably high amino acid content, protein, fiber, and metabolizable energy – making it an attractive alternative to conventional feedstuffs.

However, there are several challenges that exist for the introduction of whole hempseed to commercial poultry diets. It should be noted that, “hemp is currently not an allowable component of commercial feed for animals that produce food for humans, and is not defined as a feed ingredient by the [Association of American Feed Control Officials] AAFCO” [1]. This is due to the uncertainties of the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids in broilers (and therefore in humans by consumption). Further research must be conducted to understand the effects of cannabinoids, notably delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), on broilers when present in their diets.



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