USDA establishes interim final rule for hemp production
On Oct. 29, the USDA 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.
The USDA’s interim final rule formalizing the program was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 31. The rule allows hemp to be grown under federally approved plans and makes 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 (THC); disposing of plants not meeting 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 became effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The USDA is accepting public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. The interim final rule is posted on USDA’s website.
The USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents, which can be viewed at www.gfb.ag/usdahempguidelines110619, 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 at www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp.
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 www.farmers.gov/hemp.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) submitted its plan for review on July 10 and is reviewing the USDA proposed rule to amend the Georgia plan to comply with the federal rule.
Once approved, the GDA will propose a final state rule that complies with the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and the Georgia Hemp Farming Act. Following a 30-day comment period, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, Georgia’s rule will be finalized after posting final notice for 20 days with the Georgia Secretary of State.