A Nebraska farm equipment manufacturer and dealer who was denied a license to grow hemp in 2019 is suing the state Department of Agriculture and its director.

Jacob Bish, head of public relations at Giltner-based Bish Enterprises and Hemp Harvest Works, was one of 176 applicants seeking to grow hemp this year, the first of Nebraska’s research program.

The state granted 10 licenses, which were to be randomly selected.

Bish argues that the department failed to select applications randomly and that the decision was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” reported the Lincoln Journal Star.

Bish had planned to try hemp varieties for seed selection for the 2020 growing season.

In June, Bish planted two test plots of heirloom or wild hemp. He says those varieties are exempt from the licensing requirements under Nebraska’s law.

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