AFBF: Improvements to hemp regulation needed to support farmers
The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling for improved hemp regulations to help support farmers.
The AFBF said in a press release Wednesday that improved testing rules, an expanded testing timeline, and clarity around hemp transportation would help farmers grow and market the crop.
Earlier this month, farmers and ranchers at AFBF’s Annual Convention voted to support an increase in the allowable THC level in hemp up to 1%. The vote gives AFBF leaders and staff the flexibility to engage in discussions with regulators and lawmakers about the appropriate legal limit on THC.
Currently, law limits the THC content in hemp to be no higher than 0.3%. Regulations also require testing to be conducted only in the flower of the plant, despite the harvesting use of the entire plant.
AFBF is asking that the USDA allow THC testing of the entire plant to be averaged together.
The Interim Final Rule requires the collection of plant samples needed for THC testing within 15 days of the anticipated harvest date. In comments to USDA, AFBF noted this narrow window places an unnecessary burden on farmers, who risk losing their entire crop if they cannot complete harvest in just 15 days, and fails to consider the potential for delayed test results due to a lack of THC testing facilities. AFBF is urging USDA to extend the 15-day window to 45 days before the anticipated harvest date to remove this unfair and expensive burden on farmers.
The USDA requires that all THC testing labs be certified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Currently, there are only 44 DEA-certified labs in just 22 states. Those labs are serving hundreds of hemp farmers. Because there is not a certified lab in each state, some hemp growers are required to transport untested samples across state lines. If the THC level is above the 0.3% threshold, farmers open themselves up to potential prosecution for shipping illegal drugs across state lines.
You can read the full comments filed by the AFBF here.