USDA Announces Timeline for Regulations, Hemp Specific Listening Session Planned for March 13th
Today the USDA announced that it is actively working to promulgate federal hemp regulations and intends to finalize them in time for the 2020 growing season. USDA also announced they will be hosting a hemp specific listening session for stakeholders on March 13th. We will update you as soon as the details are available. This listening session will be your opportunity to provide feedback.
Several weeks ago Vote Hemp met with USDA representatives to discuss their process and offer our help. We are committed to ensuring that they are well informed about the potential of this crop as well as the need for limited regulation. We want USDA to treat hemp like other crops wherever possible. There are many aspects that must be figured out including crop insurance, testing and how data will be shared between states/tribes and USDA.
We will continue to advocate for the creation of regulations that will allow the hemp market to flourish.
Secretary Perdue has determined that USDA will not review state or tribal plans until after federal regulations are finalized. Perdue’s decision is disappointing but his commitment to completing the process in time for the 2020 growing season is positive news. USDA believes they need to go through this process first in order to properly regulate hemp due to the unique regulatory requirements.
States can continue to regulate hemp production under the 2014 Farm Bill research and pilot programs provision.
Secretary Perdue appeared before the House Agriculture Committee today. Following up on a question about hemp regulations by Rep. Davis of Illinois, Perdue stated “we would love to think that the potential for hemp agriculture is as great as the anticipation is but that remains to be seen. We want to proceed slowly to make sure we don’t have another situation where our productive farmers overcompensate and blow out a market before it gets going.”
Concerns about speculative growing of a new crop like hemp are legitimate. Hemp is not yet a commodity and there are limited processing facilities. We strongly recommend that farmers start small in their first year and secure a contract with a vetted buyer. There is a learning curve to grow hemp and you also may need to try several varieties to determine which one works best in your specific conditions.
On the other hand, we are confident that Secretary Perdue will become an advocate for hemp farmers once he learns more. Click here to read USDA’s announcement.