The establishment of the US Domestic Hemp Production Program was announced this week by the US secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue.

Commenting on the announcement, Perdue stated: “At USDA [United States Department of Agriculture], 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.

“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 programme.”

Once the programme is finalised this week – an interim rule formalising the programme will be published in the federal register – hemp will be allowed to be grown in the US under federally-approved plans and hemp producers will also be eligible for a number of agricultural programmes.

According to a statement from the USDA, “the rule includes provisions for the US Department of Agriculture to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes”.

These provisions include:

  • Requirements 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.

“It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.”

The statement also noted that once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programmes. These programmes include insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.