Hemp farmers operating under their pilot programs are now able to retain those programs for another year.
The U.S. Senate has passed a continuing resolution (H.R. 8319) that contains a provision to extend hemp pilot programs through September of 2021. The continuing resolution, which provides a temporary budget to prevent a government shutdown, was signed into law by the president shortly after.
The extension approval comes after months of lobbying and requests to extend pilot programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hemp pilot programs, which were established by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), were initially set to expire Oct. 31 of this year. At that point, all states were required to switch to regulations set forth by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill), which are reiterated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) interim final rule on hemp.
Nearly two dozen states chose to operate under their pilot programs for the 2020 growing season, according to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
“We’re thankful for both the House and the Senate for listening to us back in August when we wrote about the importance of this program,” said National Industrial Hemp Council Board Chairman Patrick Atagi in a news release. “With the Senate’s vote today, hemp farmers across the country will have more certainty tomorrow while states continue their important work to submit final plans to the USDA for approval."