Congressman Riggleman Sends Letter To Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, On Hemp Production

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congressman Denver Riggleman sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, to discuss potential changes to the implementation of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.  The letter suggested improvements to benefit farmers and align the rules with the realities that hemp farmers face while growing.

“Virginia and the 5th District are uniquely positioned to lead in the arena of hemp production and I am grateful to the entire Virginia delegation for signing this letter regarding the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program,” said Congressman Riggleman.  “Industrial hemp is a potential game changer for Southside Virginia.  If we can improve the USDA hemp program to help Virginia farmers, we have the potential to bring huge economic growth to the 5th District.  This letter will provide clarity for farmers and help production.”

Congressman Riggleman’s letter was cosigned by the Virginia delegation in the House of Representatives. The changes it asked for would reduce regulation surrounding hemp farming as well as its post production and distribution.

You can read the full letter here.

USDA Establishes Domestic Hemp Production Program

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. This program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.

“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.”

Click below to view a message from Secretary Perdue

Background:

Later this week, an interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register that 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, USDA invites public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website.

USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.

More information about the provisions of the interim final rule is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

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.