US finalizing rule to allow farmers to legally grow hemp


A hemp farm near Belding ready for harvest. (Oct. 17, 2019)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — U.S. agriculture officials say a rule that allows farmers to legally grow hemp will be finalized this week.

It’s a move that many states have awaited for months so they can begin widespread hemp production.

The rule establishes requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, and disposal of plants that don’t meet the requirements.

The rule also makes hemp producers eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, including insurance coverage.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday that the USDA will publish an interim final rule Thursday that formalizes the hemp program approved in the 2018 farm bill.

States and Native American tribes can now submit plans for hemp production for USDA approval.

Some in Michigan started growing hemp this year under a state pilot program.

—News 8 contributed to this report.

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