Klobuchar and Smith Announce Establishment of Domestic Hemp Production Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) – both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee – announced the establishment of a domestic hemp production program. The program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework for hemp production across the United States. Hemp pilot projects under the 2014 farm bill will continue until the new regulations go into effect for the 2020 planting season. The Domestic Hemp Production Program will help expand production and sales of domestic hemp, benefitting both U.S. producers and consumers.

“A consistent regulatory framework for domestic hemp production will help create economic opportunities for U.S. farmers and choices for U.S. consumers including new fabric, paper, and construction productsToday’s announcement is a great start toward realizing that potential,” Klobuchar said. “Minnesota has a long tradition of agriculture and specialty crops, and I look forward to working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and our tribal communities as they submit plans to expand opportunity and strengthen the economy for our farmers.” 

“This has been a long time in the making and I’m pleased to see USDA take steps to create a cohesive framework for hemp production.” Smith said. “Minnesota farmers who want to grow hemp have been running into obstacles regarding the importation of hemp seed, and keeping agencies coordinated on the federal level goes a long way towards addressing this.”

Hemp can be utilized for numerous industrial and horticultural purposes including fabric, paper, construction materials, animal bedding, biofuel, and other products.

The 2018 Farm Bill required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promulgate regulations and guidelines to establish and administer a program for the production of hemp in the United States. Under this new authority, a State or Indian Tribe that wants to have primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in that State or territory of that Indian Tribe may submit, for the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture, a plan concerning the monitoring and regulation of such hemp production. For States or Indian Tribes that do not have approved plans, the Secretary is directed to establish a Departmental plan to monitor and regulate hemp production in those areas. 

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced an interim final rule with request for comments. Public comments will be accepted on the rule for 60-days. The rule outlines provisions for USDA to approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp, including provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensure compliance with the new regulations. 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.