CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture
(WVDA) announced the application period for the state’s industrial hemp program
will open September 1, 2019. Those interested in growing industrial hemp for
the 2020 growing season must submit an application and all required materials
by September 30, 2019 to be considered for licensure.
“Each year, the number
of producers, as well as the general interest in industrial hemp continues to
grow. Foresight by the West Virginia Legislature has allowed our producers to
have a leg up on other states. Now that industrial hemp is a legal crop
throughout our country, this is the time for producers to take advantage of
this opportunity,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.
The number of West
Virginia licensed industrial hemp growers jumped from 24 in 2017 to 178 in
2019. The producers who were granted a permit for the 2019 growing season
planned on raising 2,531 acres of industrial hemp. The next growing season will
be the third for commercial harvest of industrial hemp.
“We expect our federal
partners to release draft rules later this year. Once they have those rules,
West Virginia will have to issue our own state plan. We will inform producers
of changes every step of the process,” Leonhardt said.
The 2019 Farm Bill,
signed by President Trump on December 20, 2018, authorized states to continue
to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill until the USDA and FDA provided additional
guidance. This extension ends 12 months after the USDA has issued a plan.
States have until then to adjust local rules and regulations in order to come
into compliance with federal standards.
For more information, visit https://agriculture.wv.gov/divisions/plantindustries/Pages/Industrial-Hemp--.aspx.
Additional questions or comments can be submitted to Hemp@wvda.us.
Crescent Gallagher, Communications Director firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-558-3708 or 304-380-3922