US: USDA head is worried farmers will grow too much hemp

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Tuesday that he’s worried strong interest in hemp could drive farmers to cultivate too much of the crop once regulations are in place.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who earlier this week toured a Kentucky hemp farm alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said that there’s “a lot of interest nationwide” in hemp and that it could prove to be “a real salvation-type crop for farmers along the way.”

“But farmers are so productive, I’m concerned they may overproduce like they do a lot of things in that way and the price may go down,” he said in an interview with WLKY-TV. (Click here to watch the interview; the conversation around hemp starts at about 1:10.)

Though regulations for industrial hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized the crop and its derivatives, have yet to be issued, farmers cultivating it under a pilot research program established under the previous version of the agriculture legislation have seen record yields.


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