On August 23, NIHC Staff, along with Government Affairs Committee Chair Rick Fox of Meristem Farms in Vermont, and NIHC Members Delta Ag, Santa Fe Farms, Scotts Miracle Gro and representatives from Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC) met for a substantive discussion on hemp oversight with the USDA Office of Research, Education and Economics (REE). A representative from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) was able to provide key context on hemp policy at the state level, which NIHC delivered on NASDA’s behalf.
The meeting was in response to a request from USDA as the department moves forward to develop a comprehensive plan to manage its hemp portfolio.
Topics of discussion included the need to:
- Develop a whole-of-government approach to systematically developing funding and procurement opportunities for hemp fiber v.v. FY22 appropriations and Infrastructure funding;
- Implement policies to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. hemp in the global market;
- Coordinate establishment of regional R&D Centers of Excellence in hemp fiber processing, led by land-grant institutions and HBCUs; and to
- Ensure implementation of FY22 appropriations provisions directing USDA to review the 0.3% THC threshold, to dual-designate hemp as both commodity crop and specialty crops, to ensure the eligibility of hemp for all funding programs (specifically including those administered by USDA Rural Development), and to carry out the intent of Congress that USDA serve as the government’s primary authority on hemp production, to which other agency policies must align.
Per USDA’s request NIHC will follow up to the Department with a briefing document that elaborates on these priorities with specific actions the Secretary can implement immediately.