Gov. Polis Releases Statement On Passage Of Continuing Resolution Including Farm Bill & Hemp Pilot Program Extension

COLORADO:  Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement on the final passage of the Federal Continuing Resolution including an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill which also includes the Hemp Pilot Program.

“We worked closely with our federal delegation to ensure this provision to extend the 2014 Farm Bill and the hemp act was included in this Continuing Resolution. Colorado is a national leader in the hemp industry and I’m glad to see this bill be signed into law as it gives our farmers and ranchers from the Eastern Plains, to the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and everywhere in between more support, and gives Colorado more time to work with the USDA on our state’s hemp framework. This is a great step forward and we will continue working to grow the industry in Colorado.”

USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Maine, Missouri, The Cow Creek Band Of Umpqua Tribe Of Indians

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Maine, Missouri and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, bringing the total number of approved plans to 58.

USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes. To review approved plans or check the status of a plan, visit the Status of State and Tribal Hemp Production Plans webpage.

State and tribal plans previously approved include:

States Tribes
Delaware Blackfeet Nation
Florida Cayuga Nation
Georgia Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Iowa Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Kansas Chippewa Cree Tribe
Louisiana Colorado River Indian Tribes
Maryland Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Massachusetts Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Fort Belknap Indian Community
Montana Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Nebraska Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
New Jersey La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
Ohio Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Pennsylvania Lower Sioux Indian Community
South Carolina Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Tennessee Oglala Sioux Tribe
Texas Otoe-Missouria Tribe
Washington Pala Band of Mission Indians
West Virginia Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Wyoming Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Puerto Rico Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
U.S. Virgin Islands Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe
Santee Sioux Nation
Seneca Nation of Indians
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Yurok Tribe

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for USDA to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes. Accordingly, on Oct. 31, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and the provisions for USDA to approve submitted plans. State and tribal plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable hemp producers in their jurisdictions to operate according to their individual plans and in compliance with federal laws.

For additional information about the program, visit the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program webpage.

Statement From The U.S. Hemp Growers Association On USDA Decision Not To Make Hemp Eligible for CFAP

U.S. Hemp Growers and its Board and members are very disappointed to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not agreed to make Hemp growers eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP.) We believe our farmers did present evidence of losses to our growers that were 5% or more in the first quarter of 2020.

Many of our members are confused as to how hemp is declared ineligible when such products as aloe leaves have been granted standing when “no price decrease was identified”, but they were affected by market chain disruption. Cut flowers were also granted standing. Hemp has been affected by market chain disruption, and measurable price decline, but mysteriously hemp has not received equal treatment from the USDA. Hemp is such a newly legal crop that it does not have the advantage of data to be gathered by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) or the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or the Risk Management Agency (RMA) – all at USDA. We do not know of any regional data collection as cited by the Department.

Currently, the data available to understand the market is gathered privately by several reputable data companies. In this case two of these companies released data publicly which USHGA believes showed a 5% pricing decrease and more in hemp and hemp products in the first quarter of 2020. We are grateful to these organizations for opening their data from behind their paid firewalls that serve private users.

Links to some of that data are here:

1. Hemp Benchmarks’ April 2020 Hemp Spot Price Index Report shows a drop in CBD Biomass price of approximately 12%-13% from January to April across the nation.

2. New Frontier Data reports that from February 2020 to March 2020 Colorado saw a 26% decline in price per percent of CBD per pound of hemp with Kentucky, Oregon and the Northeast showing similar declines. While a number of hemp growers will suffer severe damage, many others are continuing to grow hemp and offer it for processing into many products – from CBD to food products such as hemp seed and hemp hearts to hemp flour, and textiles, building materials, plastics and paper.

However, these growers are very concerned that USDA may not support the newly legal hemp crop as evidenced by the unequal treatment during the Coronavirus outbreak. There are family farmers who have been damaged by the downturn in the first quarter and who deserve fair treatment by USDA for CFAP coverage. All hemp farmers are now wondering what kind of treatment they will receive should there be future problems.

USHGA will continue to work with private data companies and with USDA to encourage the collection of accurate and comprehensive data about hemp and it products. And we will expect to be treated fairly as this information grows.

NY Senator Schumer Calls On USDA To Halt Hemp Reg Implementations

Schumer: Amend Hemp Regulations And Let Budding Industry Take Flight In Upstate NY

NEW YORK:  After successfully pushing for an extended comment period to allow Upstate New York hemp farmers to share their concerns with the final rule, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022 and allow hemp growers and producers across the country and in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program regulations until that time. Schumer said with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors, implementing additional regulations would crush the budding hemp industry.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in Upstate New York, the feds must do everything they can to nurture its potential. Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most. Delaying new regulations will help pull New York along in the recovery process as the nation deals with the impacts of the pandemic.”

Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association said, “There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA’s Interim Final Rule on hemp. The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies. The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols. We would like to see the pilot program extended until 2022 and the USDA modify the program to let hemp become a widespread agricultural commodity like Congress intended by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Schumer explained, prior to the pandemic, the industrial hemp industry had begun to show significant growth in New York, adding a considerable number of good-paying jobs and bringing in significant revenue to the state, making it an indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future. Operating under the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farmers have reported difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations, Specifically, Schumer said, the cost of complying with the Rules has proven to be suffocating for the emerging industry. Compliance costs for reporting alone would be $17,363.40 according to USDA calculations, and testing would add over $700 per sample.

The senator said these costs are simply too high for the budding industry to shoulder at a time when New York and the entire country is experiencing an economic crisis. Additionally, Schumer noted, implementing the Interim Final Rules now, also requires states to alter their Pilot Program budgets to meet standards, something which states slammed with COVID-related issues simply cannot spare the time and resources for.

Schumer also pointed out in light of COVID concerns, the timing and testing outlined in the Interim Final Rules would likely push farmers to rush harvests and increase the number of people working in facilities at once, leading to higher risk of COVID transmission among workers. The senator says that delaying implementation until January 2022 and allowing states to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will address these issues, protecting both the hemp industry in New York and farm workers from potential COVID spread.

Senator Schumer’s letter to USDA Secretary Perdue appears below:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

I write in regard to deep concerns that USDA’s U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rules will hinder the advancement of the hemp industry and create significant compliance costs both for State Governments and producers. Despite these concerns being reflected in the numerous comments submitted on behalf of industry trade groups, businesses, and State Agriculture Departments during the extended public comment period, no significant changes were made. As you know, the 2018 Farm Bill removed federal regulatory restrictions from industrial hemp production, manufacturing, and sales with the intent of developing a new agricultural commodity for United States farmers. The timing of implementation of the Interim Final Rules, especially during the COVID crisis, will create extreme disruption in this nascent industry. I ask that you delay the issuance of a final rule until January 2022 and allow states to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program authority until then.

In New York, the industrial hemp industry has started to grow significantly, with new farms and businesses emerging and existing ones expanding operations. This has brought considerably better paying jobs and revenue to Upstate New York, making industrial hemp a critical new part of the state’s agricultural future. However, as industrial hemp farmers and businesses explore the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, they have experienced serious difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations. Particularly in the current COVID climate, I see many farmers and processors in New York struggle with incorporating these changes into the existing state Pilot Programs. In a time when farmers and producers struggle with economic uncertainty, the implementation of the Interim Final Rules will create costs without the support of offsetting revenues. USDA calculated compliance costs for reporting alone of $17,363.40 with testing adding approximately an additional $714.50 per sample (see 7 CFR Part 990, 58537 and 58545).

These costs do not just impact businesses across the United States but also state budgets that must alter their Pilot Programs to meet the demands of the Interim Final Rules. With bandwidth completely consumed by COVID concerns, the state regulatory agencies cannot focus on implementation of the Interim Final Rules. At this point, only 19 states have approved plans in place and enforcement efforts will deal a significant economic blow to the industry.

Lastly, I have concerns that the Interim Final Rules will potentially create public health issues in our current COVID environment. As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.

The Interim Final Rules provide a first step in developing regulations for the hemp industry. The critiques from the comment period will provide USDA with areas to consider revisions that further encourage economic opportunity for farmers and producers. However, COVID creates hurdles for states and producers to comply with the Interim Final Rules. Under the circumstances, the Interim Final Rules will harm the very businesses we hoped to help with this new agricultural commodity. We can easily remedy this situation by delaying implementation until January 2022 and allow states to continue under the 2014 Farm Bill until then. This will allow USDA to address some of the more pressing regulatory critiques while giving states and producers additional time to come into compliance.

Once again, I appreciate your efforts to help establish guidelines to develop a thriving American hemp industry. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,

Colorado Ag Department Provides State Hemp Plan Status Update

COLORADO:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has requested Colorado clarify and revise certain elements of its State Hemp Management Plan, submitted on June 18, 2020. The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is currently reviewing USDA’s comments and questions and considering revisions as it continues to prioritize representing the needs of the state’s industrial hemp registrants and stakeholders.

“As we have done from day one, CDA is working through the state plan submission and approval process in a careful and comprehensive manner to best serve the needs of Colorado,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “Given the many changes at the federal level, we are working hard to create a stable and sound regulatory environment so that Colorado’s hemp industry can continue to lead the nation.”
Feedback received from numerous stakeholders statewide and over several months contributed to the plan, including input from farmers, processors and product manufacturers, state and local government agencies, healthcare professionals, financial services providers, law enforcement, and academic institutions, as well as consultation with Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes, as part of CDA’s Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan.

South Dakota Department Of Agriculture Submits Hemp Plan To United States Department Of Agriculture

SOUTH DAKOTA: The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) submitted its plan to regulate industrial hemp in South Dakota to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval.

“I am looking forward to working with industrial hemp producers and processors in South Dakota,” says Derek Schiefelbein, SDDA Industrial Hemp Program Manager. “The SDDA will continue to develop the program while waiting for approval from the USDA. Processors and growers can look for more information for how to apply in the near future.”

The industrial hemp legislation was passed by the South Dakota legislature in 2020 authorizing the SDDA to create a program to regulate the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp. The SDDA has been working to establish the industrial hemp program to support this new industry in the state.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $32.5 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 132,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect, and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Defense Bill Amendment Removes DOD CBD/Hemp Prohibition

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, secured an amendment to the annual national defense bill that would ensure that the U.S. Department of Defense may not prohibit the possession, use, or consumption of hemp products — in compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local law — by servicemembers. This would apply to hemp that meets the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 definition (amended by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018). The Gabbard amendment was included in the final version of the bill which passed on Tuesday, 295-125, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“There is great research being done around hemp, resulting in new products coming to market that are proven to help with ailments like insomnia, inflammation, chronic pain, epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress and more. Hemp products provide a form of treatment that serves as an alternative option for those who would rather pursue natural remedies rather than prescription drugs. This amendment passed with strong bipartisan support, ensuring our servicemembers have access to the same over-the-counter products that Americans all across the country benefit from today,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The 2018 Farm Bill, known as the Agricultural Improvement Act, legalized hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis). Currently, many over-the-counter products are sold that meet these parameters.

USDA, DEA Provide Options For Labs, Disposal Of Non-Compliant Hemp Plants

usda-logoDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the delay of enforcement of certain requirements under the interim final rule (IFR) establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Under the new guidance, USDA will delay enforcement of the requirement for labs to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the requirement that producers use a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants under certain circumstances. Enforcement will be delayed starting this crop year and until Oct. 31, 2021, or the final rule is published, whichever comes first.

“Because currently there isn’t sufficient capacity in the United States for the testing and disposal of non-compliant hemp plants, USDA has worked hard to enable flexibility in the requirements in the Interim Final Rule for those issues,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach.

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory testing for the purposes of determining compliance under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program can be conducted by labs that are not yet registered with DEA. The laboratories must still meet all the other requirements in the IFR.

All laboratories engaged in the testing of hemp through this interim period will be subject to the same compliance requirements of the IFR. Specifically, labs must adhere to the standards of performance as outlined within the IFR, including the requirement to test for total THC employing post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods. All labs will have to make arrangements to be compliant with registration requirements before this period of delayed enforcement expires. DEA will evaluate all applications using the criteria required by the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 823(f)).

Disposal

Based on feedback from states and tribes, and in consultation with DEA, USDA has identified additional options for the disposal of “hot” hemp plants. Some of these new options include, but are not limited to, plowing under non-compliant plants or composting into “green manure” for use on the same land. The new methods are intended to allow producers to apply common on-farm practices for the destruction of non-compliant plants.

Hemp that tests greater than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis must be disposed of onsite according to the disposal methods approved by USDA. The state, tribe or the state’s department of agriculture will be responsible for establishing protocols and procedures to ensure non-compliant hemp is appropriately destroyed or remediated in compliance with applicable state, tribal and federal law.

A list of allowed disposal techniques and descriptions is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page.

“One of the top considerations in making these changes was the desire to provide additional options that minimize, to the extent possible, the resource impact to state and local law enforcement in handling hemp that is out of compliance,” said Under Secretary Ibach.

“We look forward to partnering with producers, states, tribes and other stakeholders to deliver regulations that work for everyone,” said Under Secretary Ibach.

USDA Publishes “Economic Viability Of Industrial Hemp In The United States: A Review of State Pilot Programs”

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BY TYLER B. MARK, JONATHAN SHEPHERD, DAVID OLSON, WILLIAM SNELL, SUSAN PROPER, AND SUZANNE THORNSBURY

After a hiatus of almost 45 years, the 2014 Farm Bill reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States through State pilot programs. This study documents outcomes and lessons learned from the State pilot programs and examines legal, agronomic, and economic challenges that may impact the transition from the pilot programs to economically viable commercial production.

In this publication…

USDA Announces Details Of Risk Management Programs For Hemp Producers

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of two programs that protect hemp producers’ crops from natural disasters. A pilot hemp insurance program through Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) provides coverage against loss of yield because of insurable causes of loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain or Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage protects against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting where no permanent federal crop insurance program is available. Producers may apply now, and the deadline to sign up for both programs is March 16, 2020.

“We are pleased to offer these coverages to hemp producers. Hemp offers new economic opportunities for our farmers, and they are anxious for a way to protect their product in the event of a natural disaster,” said Farm Production and Conservation Undersecretary Bill Northey.