WASHINGTON — The U.S. Agriculture Department today announced the domestic hemp production program that is required by the 2018 Farm Bill.

USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey says the plan puts the rules in place and will allow hemp producers to use the department’s programs for hemp. “Including loans, crop insurance, disaster assistance and crop insurance programs. All these programs will be starting for hemp in 2020,” Northey says.

Northey, who is the former Iowa Ag Secretary, says it also allows for participation in the protection program. “Diversified producers who grow hemp will also be able to purchase whole farm revenue protection as long as they have at least a five-year history of farm income — or a three-year history for those who are beginning or veteran farmers,” Northey says.

He says they are also working on some hemp loan programs. “Farm Services Agency is developing loan programs for hemp producers — which will be available on a limited basis. And we’re talking about establishing operating ownership, beginning farmer, and on-farm storage loans for this next year,” according to Northey.

Northey says hemp producers will have to file a production report as they do with other crops. “And they’ll need to identify each field or subfield, or lot, even greenhouses on which hemp is being grown,” Northey says. “And we’ll also need to detail the intended use for that hemp — whether it’s fiber, or seed or grain or other processing.”

Northey says there will be more information available on-line as it becomes available. “The website for our three agencies it is  farmers.gov/manage/hemp. More information for how producers can access the programs at farm production and conservation,” he says.

Iowa producers will apply to grow industrial hemp under a state plan that will be submitted to the USDA for approval.

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