Alabama A&M's Agricultural Research Station could soon see a security upgrade as a research team is growing industrial hemp across acres of land.
The university is one of five colleges in the state with an approved license to produce and research the plant.
"Just the name, hemp and cannabis, will attract people to come and see what's going on," Dr. Ernst Cebert said.
Dr. Cebert leads the research team that is growing industrial hemp to study the fibers of the plant and discover different uses for it.
WAAY 31 is told currently, there are over 18 cameras that provide a view over all the crop fields. However, those cameras were installed before the thought of growing hemp even existed.
"Anyone who moves around the research station, we would see them, but the cameras are not directed specifically to the hemp fields," Dr. Cebert said.
The college plans to ramp up security measures, making sure no one takes what isn't theirs. Dr. Cebert wants to add even more cameras that provide a clear visual focused solely on the hemp plots. The new cameras ideally would provide a clear picture of anybody who visits the field, for clear identification.
WAAY 31 is told the first estimate for a new security system would cost around $18,000. The research team is growing at least seven different varieties of hemp to see which does best in Alabama. They say protecting the potential cash crop for the state is the priority.
"The camera system we are going to put in should pick up anyone who tries to climb over the fence," Dr. Cebert said.
Right now, the team does not know exactly when the new security system will be installed. They say it must be installed by the time the plants have grown to a visible level.