Details of the USDA’s interim rule for hemp production released

The USDA has announced its regulatory framework for hemp production in the United States. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the US Domestic Hemp Production Program is in place with enough time for producers to make planting decisions for the 2020 crop year. 

“We have our teams operating with all-hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent,” he says.  “While seeking to provide a fair, consistent and science-based process for states, Tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”

The rule includes provisions for the USDA to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes and details requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of THC in the plants, disposal of plants not meeting the necessary requirements, and licensing requirements.

Undersecretary Greg Ibach says they’ve seen large increases in hemp production – and depending on how the 2019 growing season ends up will likely determine where production heads in 2020.  “Throughout this process, the USDA has cautioned producers who have wanted to grow hemp to make sure they had a relationship with a reliable processor or end-user who would buy their crop at the end of the crop year,” he says. 

Once state and tribal plans are put into place, producers will be eligible for several USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.  But, Undersecretary Bill Northey says there could be some exceptions.  “The cause of loss from a high THC will not likely be covered in a crop insurance policy,” he says.  “At least that’s the way the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection policy is set up now.”

Growers weren’t required to report acres in 2019 – so the USDA says there is complete data on how many acres were grown this year.  But, they said moving forward they will have more accurate information.

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register, but also includes a public comment period to ensure a transparent rulemaking process. 

For more information and to view the agency’s interim final rule click HERE.

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