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USDA finalizes hemp production rule

USDA finalizes hemp production rule

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register on Oct. 31. Comments will be taken for 60 days. The USDA has developed guidelines for for the program and states must following these rules or explain to the feds how the state programs will work before the USDA will approve a state's program.

States that already have programs must now comply with the new federal rule. States can be more restrictive than the federal rule, but not less restrictive. The federal rule and supporting documents provide additional information for tracking, sampling, lab testing, and enforcement. Once state or tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will also be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.

The interim final rule will become final sometime next year or after the 2020 production cycle. A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website at the following links:

  • A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website.
  • 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. 
  • 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
  • Iowa's hemp law (approved in 2019). IDALS staff projects that hemp licensing could begin in "early 2020."

In the meantime, IDALS cautions that it is not yet legal to cultivate, grow or distribute hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves a state plan. Growers are also urged to make certain that they have quality seed and a buyer identified before they invest in hemp production.



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