Smith: The comment period on the USDA’s interim final rule on hemp production has closed but not before the American Farm Bureau Federation made recommendations to improve the rule in its comments to the agency. American Farm Bureau director of Congressional Relations Scott Bennett says the comments focused on three main areas where the rule can be improved for farmers.
Bennett: The THC testing limit; Current law is 0.3 percent THC. American Farm Bureau supports THC levels up to one percent. The testing window; a hemp product must be tested within 15 days of harvest. With the potential backlog at the testing facilities, we asked USDA to extend that to 45 days. The destruction of a hot crop that tests over 0.3 percent must be destroyed. We encourage to look at alternative ways to at least derive some value out of the crop.
Smith: Bennett says these comments will help American Farm Bureau work with USDA and other stakeholders to improve the rule.
Bennett: As we engage with USDA, it’s important that we submit comments that are pragmatic and make sense. We did that. We have a very close working relationship with USDA, they know where we stand on many of the different aspects of this interim final rule, and by submitting these comments, we get to have a seat at the table with USDA.
Smith: Bennett says American Farm Bureau sees a bright future ahead for hemp production in the United States.
Bennett: We understand that this will be a crop that works for some farmers in some regions of the country, but not necessarily for everyone. That’s why we are working closely with USDA in their development of this interim final rule because this is what will provide the final clarity around how a farmer is able to produce this crop.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.