Jon Tester, a Democratic Senator from Montana stated in a press call that the new federal regulations are good for hemp. He supports the rules, the certainty they will provide for farmers, and the job growth this will provide for the state.
His beliefs are in line with the goals of the new USDA regulations which are there to create national standards to produce hemp nationwide, bringing order to the wild west mentality that has swept the industry the last few years. With steady rules in place, farmers will have more access to loans and crop insurance. Senator believes this is a step in the right direction.
The draft of the new rules are part of a 161-page document, it covers licensing requirements for farmers, procedures to test hemp, and how to destroy crops that come back with numbers that are too high.
“It’s a good start. I think we got to continue to look and listen to the folks who are growing and utilizing it in manufacturing and tweak it as necessary,” said Tester.
Montana farmers planted 22,000 acres of hemp in 2018 and almost doubled that number for 2019. For many farmers in the state, hemp could be a lifesaver with low wheat prices. Montana’s biggest problem is that a processing plant doesn’t exist in the state to handle the crops and turn the raw materials into the many useful products that can be made from hemp. Farming hemp is still risky for many farmers just getting started.
“I mean I got into organics 35 years ago. It was the same kind of deal where you had a lot of companies that were operating on a shoe-string budget and sometimes [you] didn’t get paid. As that industry matured, of course, businesses get more financially secure and that’s less of a risk,” said Tester.
Both Montanan Senators currently support funding and hemp friendly policies, hoping to strengthen the local economy.