Federal and State Hemp Guidelines Beginning to Take Shape

USDA announced last week that it will complete the federal rules governing domestic hemp production by August. Under the 2018 farm bill, states and Native American tribes can run hemp oversight themselves but they have to submit their plans for that oversight to USDA or follow the federal guidelines once they’ve been written. Indiana will submit a plan for oversight of hemp. The advisory committee, created by the state legislation that legalized hemp production, will meet on Thursday to discuss with State Chemist Dr. Bob Waltz what that plan may look like. One member of that advisory committee is Converse, IN farmer Mark Boyer who was appointed to represent Indiana Farm Bureau.

“I’m really excited about the progression and the direction that we’re moving in here in Indiana. I think in Indiana, we may be a little bit late to the party, but we have the opportunity to maybe show up the best dressed.”

Boyer says since Indiana legalized hemp production, the question he receives most from interested producers is, “What are the margins?” That’s a tough question to answer.

“It’s based on whatever a processor might think it’s worth. So, a lot of people ask me, ‘Should I look into growing hemp and how much hemp should I grow?’ There are a lot of agronomy challenges associated with this crop. So, I always tell people, and it’s never the answer they want to hear, but absolutely no more than you can afford to lose.”

Boyer also cautions against growing hemp without having a contract in place with a reputable and stable end user. In order to grow hemp in Indiana beginning in 2020, you must obtain a license. We will continue to follow that process and make you aware when registration for that license begins.

The advisory committee’s meeting will be made open to the public on Thursday from 9am-12pm at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville. You can find more information about hemp production in Indiana by visiting the Office of Indiana State Chemist’s website.

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