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USDA Announces Hemp Production Rules
USAgNet - 11/22/2019

The first look at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s interim final hemp production rules are now available. The rules were published in the Federal Register on Oct. 31 and public comment will be allowed for 60 days on the USDA website.

These rules do not, however, grant anyone the right to begin planting hemp in Texas. There are still several more steps to the process to finalize Texas industrial hemp rules, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists working with hemp, reports Farms.com.

Hemp refers to the Cannabis plant with tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry-weight basis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the most referenced product aligned with hemp production, but non-consumable hemp products include cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard and plastics.

Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agricultural law specialist, Amarillo, said a significant portion of the USDA rules tell tribes and states who are outlining their own hemp production plans what must be included. Another portion puts in place rules for producers in states or tribes that don’t want to create their own plan.

Texas, through the Texas Department of Agriculture, will be submitting a state plan, which must be approved by USDA. Until that happens, no physical procurement of hemp seed, planting or production is allowed in Texas, said Calvin Trostle, AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock.

AgriLife Extension is gearing up to help producers work through the regulatory compliance and production processes.

Once the approved TDA rules are released, there will be requirements for an application and licensing process, fees for application and inspections, notification, rules to govern how industrial hemp will be tested in the field and more.

Production and testing will center on the acceptable hemp THC level, which is 0.3% taking into consideration the measurement uncertainty. Anything testing above the limit will be regarded as ‘hot’ or marijuana and could be subject to destruction.

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