Wisconsin’s hemp pilot program to get extended

Moving forward, those in the industry want to see it grow beyond things like CBD.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 3:51 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin agriculture officials are expected to extend the current hemp pilot research program in the state. It’s a move hemp farmers, growers, producers, and advocates said they appreciate, stating the regulations in place by the USDA give hemp farmers less flexibility than the current pilot program.

Since the start of the pilot program in 2018, it’s been an up and down process for the Wisconsin hemp industry. However, this past year farmers across the state had a good growing season.

“I am concerned that some individuals who are growing may not be able to sell it in the end, because I think some are holding on to their crop from 2019 even, so for me it’s about getting those markets open and getting regulation, unnecessary regulation out of the way,” said Rob Richard, President of the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance.

Richard said a positive is the state’s decision to extend the pilot program. It means many hemp farmers won’t have to throw out their crops , because as it stands the USDA’s rule is to test up to .30 THC, but the states pilot program tests for up to .399 THC. Richard said that’s not much but it’s a lot for growers who are investing time and money in the industry.

“If we were on the federal standards a lot more farmers would have lost a lot more, and it would have been a detriment for the industry not only for the state, but for the agriculture side where people are trying to make money, in this agriculture side of CBD,” said Willian Nething, President/CEO of Hemp 4 Heroes.

Moving forward, those in the industry want to see it grow beyond things like CBD.

“We continue to work and advocate for positions that would allow for opportunities like maybe with the idea of utilizing hemp fiber for paper towels, for toilet paper, for clean wipes, for brown packaging, or brown papers,” said Richard.

The new rule or extension into next September is expected to go into effect this Friday.

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