As the USDA currently finalizes their regulations for the growing of industrial hemp, Hemp Depot strongly believes they should adopt the suggestions recently put forward by the American Farm Bureau Federation – the nation’s largest U.S. farm organization. The farm bill of 2018, which legalized the growing of industrial hemp, was a huge step forward in that it offers our nation’s farmers a chance to grow a new and potentially lucrative crop that can either replace or be grown along with the usual soy, wheat, and corn.
However, farmers are saying that the USDA regulations created in response to the new law are too stringent for them to ensure a successful crop, so instead of making a profit, farms might have to destroy an entire harvest and take a loss. The main problem is this: the current guidelines state that industrial hemp crops must have a THC level of no more than 0.3%. However, the AFBF suggests tripling that rate to 1% because the lower THC level is very difficult for farmers to achieve on a consistent and successful basis – especially for farmers who are new to growing hemp.
Also in contention with our farmers is the USDA’s regulation that the crop must be harvested within 15 days of testing. Frequently, it takes at least seven days for the THC testing level results to be received by the farmers, and attempting to harvest in such a short period of time after receiving the test results is simply impractical.
Farmers are the backbone of our economy and Hemp Depot states their ongoing support of any measures that can be taken to ensure their success… especially when those measures are reasonable, cost effective, and completely safe. To that end, Hemp Depot supports the proposed new guidelines of up to 1% THC levels and up to 45 days to harvest after testing.
Currently, any industrial hemp crop with a higher than allowed THC level is considered “contraband” and has to be destroyed, at great cost to the farmers in terms of lost revenue and utterly wasted labor and resources. It is assumed that the USDA’s insistence on the 0.3% THC level is to ensure that these valuable crops cannot provide a “high,” however, experts agree that even a 1% THC level will not get anyone high.
In response to this issue, the American Farm Bureau Federation has suggested that these “hot” crops be allowed to be used for the production of fuels, textiles, or even bedding for domestic livestock. Hemp Depot is in full support of the Bureau’s recommendations and sincerely hopes the USDA will act on them.