by Trevor McIntosh, Farm Plus Financial Senior Editor
Industrial hemp registration officially began on March 1, 2014 in the state of Colorado. With uncertainties still looming due to federal law, the Colorado Department of Agriculture urged farm producers and potential registrants to be aware of the potential challenges ahead.
“While the State passed legislation legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp, there are still many unanswered questions on the federal level,” said Colorado Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Carleton. “We want producers to be fully aware of the issues and challenges facing this crop.”
A press release from the CDA urges farm producers to be aware of the challenges and uncertainties including the following list of issues that may cause concern for those interested in growing this industrial hemp crops in Colorado.
- Federal Farm Programs
Programs such as crop insurance, farm loans and conservation reserves could be jeopardized if industrial hemp is planted on your farm since these federal farm programs are managed by the US Department of Agriculture, a federal agency. The CDC recommends that you contact a lawyer for legal advice.
the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury recently issued guidance on bank involvement with Cannabis operations, however, banks may be reluctant to provide services to Cannabis growers for fear of being prosecuted for federal laws and regulations violations.
- Seed Procurement/Seed Quality
Seed that exists in Colorado may be variable and have unknown THC levels. Random sampling of hemp fields will be conducted. Plant samples testing at levels higher than 0.3 percent THC will be in violation of the Colorado Industrial Hemp Registration and Production Act. Importation of viable industrial hemp seed across State lines and Country boundaries is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
There are not any pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) currently registered for use on Cannabis spp. (Industrial Hemp and marijuana) due to the predominant federal nature of pesticide regulation. The CDA is putting together a list of pesticides that could be used on Cannabis spp. and not constitute a violation of pesticide labeling or other federal and state pesticide laws and regulations. This list will be extremely limited.
Industrial hemp must be processed prior to shipment out of Colorado. Colorado’s industrial hemp rules state that industrial hemp producers must provide documentation of in state processing as part of registration. It is unknown at this time how many processing facilities will be available in Colorado at time of harvest.
Colorado farm operators interested in growing industrial hemp products should review the Colorado Department of Agricultures website at www.colorado.gov/ag/ for more information on rules, regulations and information relating to registering.
The Future of Industrial Hemp Production
Could industrial hemp production be the future for ag production across the United States? Only time will tell as Colorado is one of the first state to adopt industrial hemp production rules. Oregon is currently working on its own set of rules that are estimated to be ready in late 2014 as are a number of states.
What do you think of the changes currently taking place in US Agriculture? We would love to hear your feedback on the legalization of industrial hemp production in the US.
If you are seeking Colorado farm loans or agricultural financing in another state, Farm Plus Financial is your trusted farm lender. Contact Farm Plus Financial today at 866.929.5585 or apply online.