Federal officials have approved industrial hemp program proposals for Maine and Missouri.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week approved the hemp plans for Maine and Missouri, bringing the total number of approved state plans to 22. For Missourians, it marks the first year that they can legally grow hemp in the state.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture said it had licensed 197 producers, and 75 Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permit Holders since opening up the licensing process, and that cultivators have registered 3,696 acres for growing the crop. The agency said federal regulators required no changes to the state’s proposed rules.
Maine has allowed hemp cultivation since 2016 and state agriculture officials said that hemp is grown in every one of Maine’s 16 counties. The 2020 program includes 110 outdoor licensees who have planted 362 acres of planted, and seven indoor cultivation licenses who have planted over 22,700 square feet of the crop. Jurisdiction over hemp in Maine is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
In a statement, DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal called the industry “an important part of Maine’s agricultural sector.” However, the agency said that lawmakers will need to reconcile differences between state hemp law and federal hemp rules during next year’s legislative session. They did not indicate what changes are needed to settle the differences.
The USDA still lists 12 state programs as “under review,” four operating under 2014 programs, two drafting plans for review, four plans are pending resubmission, while 5 states are operating under USDA hemp producer licenses which are given to hemp farmers in states or tribes that have not developed plans. For tribes, the USDA has approved 34 of 42 hemp plans.