The 2023 Farm Bill has been the topic of discussion as it is set to break down barriers for farmers interested in participating in the hemp industry. The “carbon-sequestering plant has the potential to reshape U.S. agriculture” so it’s on legislators’ minds as to how to handle the production of industrial hemp (the newly legalized crop).
Hemp, Inc. executives believe the farm bill will be a great vehicle for updating and reforming agriculture policies, thus creating a solid framework to expand the industry. U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced their bipartisan Industrial Hemp Act on March 23, 2023 to “ease the burden on farmers who grow grain and fiber hemp, or ‘industrial hemp.’ The Senators’ bill would exempt farmers exclusively growing industrial hemp from the burdensome background checks and costly sampling and testing protocols required for farmers growing cannabinoid hemp.”
“Montana farmers don’t need government bureaucrats putting unnecessary burdens on their operations,” said Senator Tester. “It’s time we cut red tape, and make it easier for industrial hemp farmers to get their product to market. My bipartisan bill builds on Montana’s leadership on hemp policy and creates good-paying jobs for folks across rural America.”
“It’s important that we set American farmers up for success by cutting burdensome regulations and red tape,” said Senator Braun. “This legislation will expand opportunities for industrial hemp producers in Indiana and across the country and allow them to tap into one of the fastest growing agricultural markets.”
“Montana has been a leader in hemp production and for many farmers, this crop gives us more crop rotation options,” said Cyndi Johnson, President of Montana Farm Bureau Federation. “We appreciate Senator Tester’s efforts to distinguish between different varieties and update the law to regulate their production more appropriately, giving farmers more certainty in their cropping decisions.”
According to the Environment Energy and Study Institute, hemp absorbs twice as much carbon per hectare of land than a forest does, and hemp derived products can be used to replace paper, petroleum-based plastics, and cotton fibers. But hemp, a strain of the Cannabis plant (from which marijuana is derived), was previously considered a Schedule 1 substance – the most highly regulated narcotics under the Controlled Substances Act.
The institute went on to say “the 2023 Farm Bill can serve as an opportunity to ensure hemp is cultivated and produced to its fullest potential. Ambiguities in federal laws must be addressed to ensure that the hemp market, which was reported to be worth $824 million in 2021, continues growing.”
To read the full Industrial Hemp Act 2023, click here.