The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances. It also directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue regulations and guidance to implement a program to create a consistent regulatory framework around production of hemp throughout the United States. The establishment of hemp as a regulated commodity also paves the way for U.S. hemp farmers to participate in other USDA farm programs.
U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program
The U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program establishes federal regulatory oversight of the production of hemp in the United States. The program authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve plans submitted by states and Indian tribes for the domestic production of hemp and establishes a federal plan for producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that choose not to administer a State or Tribe-specific plan provided also that the state or Tribe does not ban hemp production.
Continue reading for information about hemp production plans, guidelines for sampling and testing procedures, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements and licensing requirements.
Growing Hemp under the 2014 Pilot Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) handles the extramural research aspects of industrial hemp which includes provisions contained under the 2014 Farm Bill allowing for pilot programs for industrial hemp cultivation. Until the USDA AMS rule establishing the domestic production of hemp pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill is effective, researchers should continue following the guidance received regarding Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill and not exceed interpretation of the 2014 Farm Bill, Section 7606. In addition, Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill will remain in effect and continue to be an option for hemp researchers for one year after the AMS rule becomes effective.Learn more
Hemp and Farm Bill Programs
This rule is a first step that enables the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide guidance on eligibility for farm programs. Once production plans are approved and licenses are issued, hemp producers may be eligible for many USDA programs in 2020, including:
- Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP)
- Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
- NRCS-administered conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
- Farm loans, including operating, ownership, beginning farmer, and farm storage facility