U.S. farming officials set listening session on federal rules

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host a hemp specific listening session for industry stakeholders on Wednesday, March 13 to hear comments as it works to finalize federal hemp regulations. USDA has indicated it intends to finalize the rules in time for the 2020 growing season, according to industry lobbyists Vote Hemp.

Vote Hemp said rules need to be refined covering such things as crop insurance, testing and how data will be shared among states, Native American tribes and USDA.

State plans must wait

The group noted that USDA will not review state or tribal plans until federal regulations are finalized. Until those rules are clear, states can continue to regulate hemp production under the 2014 Farm Bill research and pilot programs provision, Vote Hemp noted.

“(Agriculture Secretary Sonny) Perdue’s decision is disappointing but his commitment to completing the process in time for the 2020 growing season is positive news,” Vote Hemp said in a release.

“We would love to think that the potential for hemp agriculture is as great as the anticipation is but that remains to be seen,” Perdue said at a recent hearing. “We want to proceed slowly to make sure we don’t have another situation where our productive farmers overcompensate and blow out a market before it gets going.”

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