Clements: The Department of Agriculture’s hemp program announced Tuesday allows the sector to move forward, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Scott Bennett, AFBF Congressional Relations Director, says the interim final rule creates much needed standards for production, testing and licensing.
Bennett: This is the long-awaited interpretation from USDA of what Congress passed in the 2018 farm bill as it relates to the legalization of hemp. This interim final rule provides clarity to producers on everything from crop insurance, THC testing methods, crop destruction protocols, to interstate commerce.
Clements: Hemp farmers have struggled getting financing for their operations as the banking industry needed guidance from USDA. Bennett says the interim final rule allows bankers to serve the hemp industry.
Bennett: The banking industry largely has awaited these regulations in order to develop guidance regarding deposits derived from hemp operations. Without these regulations, the banking industry hasn’t been willing to take the risk of accepting deposits or lending money to these businesses. So, we see this as a positive enforcement of receiving financing for your hemp operation.
Clements: Bennett says hemp producers should review the rule and provide feedback to USDA.
Bennett: The public now has an opportunity to provide comment through the Federal Register for a period of 60 days beginning this Thursday, October 31. I encourage producers to take a look at the interim final rule, see how it may impact their hemp operation, and then provide that input to USDA.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.