Industrial Hemp Application Period Opens

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) announced the application period for the state’s industrial hemp program will open today, September 1, 2020, for the 2021 growing season. Those interested in growing industrial hemp must apply by October 31, 2020. To receive a license by the first of the year, all required materials should be submitted by the application deadline. Processor licenses may be submitted at any time but are only valid until December 31 of that year.

“We have seen tremendous growth within the hemp industry these last few years. As the industry continues to develop, the Department is working to educate producers on best practices, as well as help develop industry standards. We look forward to another successful hemp season,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

The number of West Virginia licensed industrial hemp growers jumped from 24 in 2017 to 305 in 2020. The producers who were granted a permit for the 2020 growing season planned on raising 2,531 acres of industrial hemp. The next growing season will be the fourth for commercial harvest of industrial hemp.

“With new federal guidelines being implemented for the 2021 growing season, our farmers will see very little changes in how they have operated. This will give our producers a leg up as other states make adjustments,” Leonhardt said. “I am proud of the proactive approach lawmakers and the Department have taken thus far.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved West Virginia’s industrial hemp plan earlier this year. The 2021 growing season will be the first year under that approved plan, as well as new federal guidelines issued by the USDA.

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The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works..