USDA Releases Interim Rules For Hemp Production

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its interim final rule establishing the regulations for hemp production.


To read the USDA’s interim final rule, click here.


USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.


The USDA is currently conducting a 60 day comment period for comment. All feedback is due by December 30, 2019. The best way to contact the agency regarding the hemp program and regulation, is at the following email address: farmbill.hemp@usda.gov



“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.”


This rule is mandated by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, and outlines provisions for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also establishes a Federal plan for producers in States or territories of Indian Tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. The program includes 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 ensuring compliance with the requirements of the new part.


Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was imperative in securing the hemp provision in the 2018 Farm Bill and took the Senate floor to deliver remarks regarding the USDA announcement.


“This new policy will help farmers around the country continue pioneering this crop into the 21st century. And I’m proud to say Kentucky is prepared to take the lead" said Senator McConnell.

Senator McConnell gives praise to Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and his predecessor, now-Congressman James Comer, for leading the charge in Kentucky. In a press release, Commissioner Quarles echoes his sentiments:


“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. 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.”


The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) announced that the 2020 hemp application will be released on November 15th, 2019 and hosted online. It will be available for submission through March 15, 2020. If you're interested in learning more about Kentucky’s hemp program, the KDA will host a Kentucky Hemp Summit for growers, processors, and other interested parties on December 4, 2019, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. For more information visit https://kyagr.com/hemp.


Click here to read the press release announcement from USDA.


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