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2018 Farm Bill Summary and Its Impact for Hemp Farmers and Hemp Industry

A lot of changes have to be done in hemp farming based on the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill caused various updates, changes, or removal of some of the rules, regulations, and laws governing hemp farming. You need to know what to change so that you can abide by the new requirements of the law when carrying out hemp farming.

While abiding by the definition of industrial hemp, the 2014 farm bill allowed for higher education organizations and state agricultural departments, when a state permits, to grow hemp. Industrial hemp was defined by having 0.3% of THC content. The regulations were meant to keep anyone from growing hemp in their farms without proper licensing information since hemp was classified as cannabis.

The 2018 farm bill made changes to the 2014 bill by altering many regulations and classifications. Hemp is no longer classified as part of the controlled substances list and is thus classified as an agricultural commodity. Hemp is also covered under crop insurance, and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation can now include hemp. With the allowance to grow hemp, there are rules for quality and cultivation, and even penalties for people who break the rules and repeat offenders. Among the rules are that the hemp should have no more than 0.3% THC content and one cannot cultivate hemp without a license. The bill also has various guidelines for state regulation and what one needs to do to submit reports to the secretary of agriculture.

Since the bill was introduced, production rates have significantly improved. Since the bill took effect, there has been a steady growth in the production of hemp. There was an estimated hemp acreage of 9800 in 2016, and this went to 78,000 in 2018.

Hemp imports have been reduced after the 2018 farm bill came into effect. There has been a reduction in hemp imports from $80 million in 2015 to under $70 million in 2017. Most imports were hemp seeds, and most of the supplies were from Canada.

The USDA is seeking to create regulations based on the 2018 farm bill through the Hemp Production Program. This program seeks to update the rules from a part of the 2014 Farm Bill. The USDA expects farmers and growers to follow the regulations and rules of the 2014 bill until the new ones are in place by the end of 2019. The USDA also expects citizens to delay the implementation of the 2018 bill until these rules are in place.

The challenge is that one is now not legally allowed to grow hemp under the 2014 bill, and one has to place their cultivation on hold. The crop is also not insurable at the time since crop insurance rules are yet to adapt to hemp growing and offer regulations under the 2018 bill.

As long as you follow the 2014 regulations, you can grow hemp awaiting the finalizing of the new rules and insurance arrangements. As you await the 2018 changes, ensure that you are following a ruling place so that you do not get yourself in problems and losses.

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