In order to make it easier for companies to market hemp, two different associations seeking to advance hemp have joined forces. Both the National Industrial Hemp Council (NICH) and The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will be collaborating on the project.
Checkoff programs work to promote commodities and expand opportunities for the people who make that commodity available. For farmers, importers, and industry advocates, this is an opportunity to grow their business and increase demand for hemp. The program is funded by assessments that are taken at the first point of sale. The money that comes into the program is used to promote the commodity, educate people, and perform research.
If it passes, the hemp program would join 23 other checkoff programs run by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. Farmers who work in those industries see an average return on investment of $3-17 that makes its way back to them for every dollar they invest in the program, according to a study done by Texas A&M.
“Today is another step forward in the right direction for hemp farmers and consumers of hemp-related products,” Patrick Atagi, Board Chairman of the NCIH, said in a press release. “A checkoff program further legitimizes a rapidly growing industry and will help hemp farmers compete on a level playing field with producers of other agricultural-related commodities.”
Estimates by the USDA value hemp at $25.5 million for the 2020 season. By 2021, that is expected to rise to $64.5 million and to pass $100 million by 2022.
“The HIA continues to focus on building the hemp economy and bringing industries together, beginning with hemp farming,” said Rick Trojan, President of The HIA. “This first-of-its-kind agreement with NIHC creates a focus on gathering data and distributing education as hemp cultivation expands nationally. It’s through these types of collaborations that we learn together and establish a solid foundation for hemp today, and over the next decade.”
Both agencies plan to work diligently to find out how best to structure the program before submitting a plan to the USDA. Research that will be compiled will include industry analysis, justification of the program, program objectives, and the impact on small businesses.