The USDA has decided to respond to pressures from the hemp industry by extending its comment period for its proposed plan. The U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, which was first released on October 31, 2019, will accept another 30 days of comments from interested parties. This pushes the window back to October 8.
Any and all stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the plan, and the USDA is particularly keen on hearing comments from producers who worked with the rules for the 2020 growing season.
Some of the topics the USDA is most interested in hearing is input on topics like:
- Measurement of Uncertainty for Sampling
- Liquid Chromatography Factor, 0.877
- Disposal and Remediation of Non-Compliant Plants
- Interstate Commerce
- 15-day Harvest Window
- Hemp seedlings, microgreens, and clones
- Hemp breeding and research
- Sampling Methodology – Flower vs. Whole Plant
- Sampling Methodology – Homogenous Composition, Frequency, and Volume
- Sampling Agents
- DEA Laboratory Registration
With the USDA delaying closing the comments, advocates for the hemp industry are hopeful that this will mean that they will also delay the implementation of these rules so that they can clearly consider the additional comments.
“We certainly hope that (the delayed comment) announcement is an indication that USDA is moving in the direction of extending the hemp pilot program for another year,” said Patrick Atagi of the National Industrial Hemp Council.
Hemp lobbyists have been pushing for the USDA to change the date when the rules take effect for a while. Farmers have also been pushing hard for the USDA to change its thresholds for THC testing limits.
A delay would mean more wiggle room and a win for the hemp industry, especially established states who refused to adopt the USDA rules for the 2020 season.