Hemp Industries Association and National Industrial Hemp Council Release Industry Results on Checkoff Survey

Results from a month-long survey on industry attitudes towards a hemp checkoff program show majority of farmers and processors support the program.

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 8, 2021 - PRESS RELEASE - The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) together announced results of a month’s long survey on industry attitudes towards a hemp checkoff program.

The results of the overall survey show that nearly 8 out of every ten farmers and processors support the checkoff program for research, promotion and consumer education. Over six of ten farmers and processors support being assessed to fund a program.

“This is exciting news for our industry and exciting that there is such wide consensus in our industry to support such a program,” said Patrick Atagi, board chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “We believe that a checkoff program will help hemp not only develop markets for hemp products but also fund much needed research and educate consumers on the usefulness and versatility of hemp.”

“It’s clear from the survey response that there is a broad level of excitement around the idea of a national hemp checkoff program, and significant interest in the potential return the hemp industry could see from an effective research and marketing program under USDA,” said HIA President Rick Trojan. “We in the industry recognize the incredible potential of this agricultural commodity, and there was a strong consensus around the importance of educating the market about the value of hemp across the supply chain for food/grain, fiber, and cannabinoids. It’s encouraging to see the positive feedback this dialogue with the industry has generated so far and we look forward to continuing to partner with the NIHC and other forward-looking allies to explore the tremendous opportunity a national checkoff represents for hemp.”

USDA checkoff programs seek to promote farm commodities and expand the market opportunities for farmers, importers and industry stakeholders. Funded through assessments on the produced commodity at the first point of sale; checkoff programs allow producers of commodities to pool resources for research, education, and promotion efforts that can expand sales and improve production efficiencies. 

Currently, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees 23 checkoff programs for various commodities ranging from cotton to pork to Christmas trees.  A study in 2018 by Texas A&M found that the existing 23 checkoffs had a return on investment for farmers and ranchers ranging from three to seventeen dollars in value that came back to the producers for every checkoff dollar invested.

The NIHC and HIA are now working to form a Task Force of representatives from across the industry that would discuss the details of how a hemp checkoff would be structured and operate.  The effort of the working group would guide the development of a proposal to submit to the USDA that will include an industry analysis; justification for the program; program objectives; and the impact on small businesses.

The survey received 270 responses and was conducted online via Survey Monkey from November 30, 2020, until December 31, 2020.

NIHC and HIA representatives are holding a media availability to discuss the results of the survey and next steps on Wednesday, February 10th at 11 a.m. EST. To RSVP for the zoom link, members of the media can contact Larry Farnsworth with NIHC at lfarnsworth@hempindustrial.com.