Maine says hemp industry poised to grow under new USDA rules

Maine says hemp industry poised to grow under new USDA rules

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(David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP, File) (David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP, File)

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s agriculture commission says a new federal hemp growing program will make it easier for the state’s hemp industry to grow.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that rule changes mean qualified growers will be eligible for programs including farm loans and crop insurance.

Amanda Beal, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, says farmers in Maine and elsewhere had been “in limbo” waiting for guidance from the federal government. She says the USDA’s move outlines how states such as Maine can implement hemp production at a commercial scale.

Beal and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said last week that guidance from the federal level was needed so farmers would no longer be restricted by rules put in place by a previous Farm Bill.

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