North Dakota’s Department of Agriculture has put out a call for applications for the state’s 2019 industrial hemp pilot program.
In the early 1900’s, industrial hemp was grown extensively in North Dakota but then ceased to due draconian laws that lumped the crop in with marijuana. Industrial hemp cultivation was again made possible in the state by the passing of House Bill 1436 in 2015. The first hemp crop was harvested in 2016, which saw mixed results.
In 2017, thirty-four growers planted a total of 3,020 acres of industrial hemp in 17 counties. Three growers didn’t harvest a crop or report research information.
According to VoteHemp, 2,778 acres of the crop were grown in North Dakota last year. The 2018 NDDA Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Research Summary is a work in progress, but the report should be available shortly.
As the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) won’t have regulations ready for growing hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill until next year’s growing season, North Dakota’s Department of Agriculture will continue to operate under provisions in the 2014 farm bill for this year’s season.
This means producers will need to be part of an agricultural or academic research program conducted by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture or by an institution of higher education; or have a registration issued by the DEA.
“We are going to follow USDA’s directive but are revising the program to follow the intent of the 2018 farm bill as much as possible,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “A bill in progress in the North Dakota Legislature would reduce licensing fees and loosen restrictions on the movement of hemp.”
That bill appears to be HB 1349. It states:
“The commissioner shall assess each producer and processor a fee not to exceed three hundred and fifty dollars.”
That’s a little confusing as currently the fee is at the same level. It’s also not clear from HB 1349 what improvements on the movement of hemp are being made.
More on North Dakota’s industrial hemp pilot research program can be viewed here.