USDA announces industrial hemp rules

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WEHT) – US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the establishment of the US Domestic Hemp Production Program on Tuesday.

The program, required by the 2018 Farm bill, creates a 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.”

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles released this statement regarding the proposed regulations:

“Over the next several weeks, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will conduct a comprehensive review of our existing hemp program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s interim final rule,” Quarles said. “We will have open dialogue with our growers, processors, and industry stakeholders about what this plan means for our state. I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Under Secretary Greg Ibach for their swift movement on putting together a rule for discussion, not even a year after the 2018 Farm Bill was signed.”

Congressman James Comer (R-Ky.) said, “I am happy to see this program from USDA in developing the industrial hemp rules and regulations… This is a key step in helping this emerging industry move forward.”

The interim final rule includes provisions on testing procedures, procedures for sharing information with authorities, and resources for states and tribes for managing plans.

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(This story was originally published on October 29, 2019)

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