Move Comes After NIHC Joined State Agriculture Departments in Asking USDA to Extend IFR for Hemp
WASHINGTON – The United States Department of Agriculture today re-opened comments on the Interim Final Rule for Hemp that was set to go into effect on October 31 of this year. USDA’s move comes after the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) joined the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in writing to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue calling for an extension of the program.
Hemp farmers have been operating off of a pilot program and the 2018 Farm Bill that called for all states to have USDA approved plans in place by the end of October. However with the global pandemic, many states have been delayed in submitting plans to the USDA for final approval.
“This is an effort we’ve been leading and hemp farmers across the country should welcome this opportunity,” said Patrick Atagi, Board Chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “With USDA re-opening the comment period, hemp industry stakeholders have the chance to tell USDA directly why it should extend the hemp pilot program in wake of the challenges they face with their individual states not being able to submit plans for approval.”
NIHC and NASDA also wrote to Congressional leaders in August urging them assert their constitutional role by funding the hemp pilot program through the next fiscal year in any supplemental or continuing resolution. Shortly thereafter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent his own letter to the USDA on behalf of NY Hemp farmers.
“We certainly hope that today’s announcement is an indication that USDA is moving in the direction of extending the hemp pilot program for another year,” concluded Atagi. “The NIHC will be filing comments and we’re encouraging our individual members to do so as well.”
About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information please go to www.hempindustrial.com.