More than 300 farmers, the U.S. Hemp Farming Alliance, First Crop, HiLo Seed, GeoCanna and Farm Journal have come together to form the U.S. Hemp Growers Association, the first and only national farmer-directed hemp trade association. 

Cara Wilcox, who previously held executive roles at Hershey, the USDA and Organic Trade Association, will be the first executive director of the organization.

"I am honored to be a part of this historical moment in U.S. agriculture and lend my experience and expertise to the emerging commercial hemp industry as we develop this organization," she said. "The forward-thinking industry leaders who have partnered on this endeavor see the potential for hemp as an agricultural commodity and understand this industry can contribute to the environment and sustainable products that benefit, at the grassroots level, farmers and consumers."

According to release, the organization will provide world-class educational and market development resources, research, and networking opportunities and will unify the voice of farmers to actively engage in critically important advocacy efforts.

"Industrial hemp provides a unique economic opportunity for farmers and all of rural America," said Michael Bowman, cofounder of First Crop. "I am thrilled that First Crop is a founding partner of USHGA. Our focus is to promote regenerative farming practices to nurture the soil, not just for this year's crop but for future generations, and hemp is one of the tools that will help us achieve these goals."

The initial board of directors will be selected in February 2020 in San Antonio. The organization says a majority of them will be active hemp farmers.