Virginia Senators Want Changes To USDA’s Industrial Hemp Production Program

The senators wrote a letter with concerns to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Farmers in Virginia are growing hemp. So, Virginia’s Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make changes to its proposed hemp regulations to better help farmers who are looking to grow industrial hemp.

Farmers have already raised concerns, so the senators wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to encourage the department to make several specific changes to draft plans regulating the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, which was established by Congress as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Among the issues the Senators raised in their letter:

  • USDA’s interim final rule requires growers to test hemp plants within 15 days of anticipated harvest. The Senators urged USDA to adopt a more reasonable testing timeframe of 30 days to reduce burdens to hemp producers and reduce unnecessary delays in getting products to market.
  • USDA’s interim final rules requires that hemp plant testing must be conducted by a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered laboratory, but Virginia has only a small number of DEA-registered labs. The Senators urged USDA to remove the requirement that testing can only occur at DEA-registered labs and allow testing to be conducted at independent testing labs that meet USDA standards.

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