New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries has stated using unprocessed, harvested hemp as feed for animals without registration is illegal in the country.
The statement was issued after media reports that claimed otherwise.
NZ farmers using hemp as stock feed are apparently breaching the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act (ACVM).
“There are currently no hemp or hemp products for animal feed registered as trade name products, and the exemption status of these products has not been confirmed at this time,” says the Ministry.
The New Zealand Hemp Industries Association was shocked by the announcement and is awaiting a reply from the Prime Minister’s office regarding the situation. According to the Association, the ACVM legislation was changed way back in 2011, and without any industry consultation. Previously the use of hemp as stock feed was permitted.
“It is time for the conflicting announcements made by governmental departments about iHemp, to stop,” says part of a statement from the Association. “Officials need urgently to work together and with industry, to enable a brand new primary industry for New Zealand.”
The MPI argues even traces of cannabinoids in milk or meat could devastate the nation’s export industry.
Some farmers are scratching their heads over the situation considering earlier this month New Zealand Minister of Agriculture and Food Safety Damien O’Connor announced hemp seed foods will be legally available in the country soon.
Industrial hemp has a variety of agricultural applications. With interest in hemp growing in NZ and acreage increasing, so too will hemp crop waste. While this waste can be ploughed back into the ground to put nutrients into the soil, it could be a very valuable stock feed. Farmers in Holland have been feeding cattle industrial hemp fiber as a supplement for decades.
Additionally, hemp cake or hemp seed meal, which is the byproduct of cold pressing hemp seeds to extract oil, contains a significant amount of protein and other important nutrients for stock.
NZ isn’t alone in banning the use of hemp as animal feed. For example, Colorado has a ban in place – but it may be reversed.