USDA establishes Domestic Hemp Production Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Oct. 29 that the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program had been established. This program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the interim final rule will allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs.

The rule includes provisions for the USDA to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including: requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced; testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements; and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.

“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have had teams operating with all hands on deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent and science-based process for states, tribes and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”

USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. Documents at www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp/information-laboratories provide  additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.

Once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. For information on available programs, visit farmers.gov/hemp.

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