Colorado Senator Cory Gardner becomes the second U.S lawmaker to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay implementation of the 2018 farm bill till 2022.
Earlier this month, Senator Charles Schumer also called for a delayed implementation for the Farm Bill suggesting that it would save money for farmers and producers during times of financial stress and also during the current economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.
Gardner suggested that a delay in the final implementation of the IFR will lead to a thriving industry. Writing to the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, he said that according to the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rule (IFR), the current draft would threaten the hemp industry’s potential for Colorado farmers and seriously undermine its growth.
In the letter, Gardner also told Perdue that the transition of the United States from being a world-leading hemp importer to the world’s-leading hemp producer is due to the guidance and clarity offered by Colorado farmers. Colorado is home to one of the longest running state hemp programs.
The state has about 2600 active hemp registrations. Colorado state farmers planted nearly 90,000 acres (36000 hectares) of hemp in the last one year. The farmers have been leading in the hemp industry driving change and innovation across the country. Regulatory oversight and economic support is offered by the state to allow the industry to thrive and be a role model to other states.
Another delay has also been asked by The National Association of State Department of Agriculture (NASDA), and the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) in the farm Bill’s implementation. For this, the hemp growers and producers will continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot program. This will avoid the USDA estimates of $17000 in compliance costs associated with the new rules.