Alabama’s Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) has big hopes for the state’s first industrial hemp season – and plenty of participants.
Commissioner Rick Pate said last week the state had licensed 152 growers, 59 processors and 5 universities to grow, cultivate, process, and research industrial hemp this year.
Commissioner Pate stated the program saw significant interest since applications opened in January. The application period closed on February 22 and acceptance letters were sent out by email last month.
“We are encouraged after our initial meetings with the approved growers and processors that the first year of the pilot program will provide opportunities for the agriculture industry in Alabama,” he said.
The lists of licences issued can be viewed via the following links:
This year’s program will be operated in line with provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill as ADAI needs to draft new regulations to submit to the USDA that are in harmony with the less restrictive 2018 Farm Bill. The latter declassified hemp as a Schedule I substance and gave it agricultural commodity status. Under the Bill, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC, including derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids.
“The overall process could take as long a year before all of the appropriate rules and regulations are in place and a permitting process is approved,” says ADAI in relation to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Even with the restrictions of the 2014 Farm Bill, that certainly hasn’t dampened enthusiasm – probably spurred on by a broader program now on the horizon for the years ahead and many wanting to get in on the ground floor.
This year’s growers and processors are required to submit a participation fee of $1000 per growing or processing area. Growers will need to submit a form prior to acquiring seeds and seedlings along with independent third-party test results for each variety/cultivar documenting a THC concentration of 0.30% or less.
ADAI will be accepting applications for the 2020 growing season in October, 2019. The state’s hemp planting season is the spring,
More information on Alabama’s Industrial Hemp Program can be found here.