One of the first states to submit its hemp plan to the USDA discovered that it did not catch the worm.
A “lot of little things” led to the rejection, the main reason is that the North Dakota plan did not provide for adequate crop sampling and testing, as required by the USDA interim final rule issued in late October. This was due to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s understanding of the legislation associated with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp legal.
We wrote our plan according to the law, or what passed, in December 2018 and we were not in compliance with the rules and regulations. Said State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.
Commissioner Goehring said North Dakota has not budgeted for the extensive sampling and testing that will be required, but that doesn’t mean the game is over for North Dakota’s hemp aspirations. It is working with the USDA to iron out the difficulties and is seeking increased funding to ensure adequate sampling and testing protocols are in place.
“We will meet with the Secretary and work with the WSA to try to determine how we can move forward,” said Commissioner Goehring.
As for this year’s season, North Dakota will likely continue to implement the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, which runs for 1 year. That means those who wish to grow hemp will have to be associated with an agricultural or academic research program conducted by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, an institution of higher learning, or have a registration issued by the DEA.
Last year, there were 64 registered hemp growers in North Dakota, double the number in 2017. The first year of the North Dakota hemp pilot program was in 2016, following the passage of House Bill 1436 in 2015.
USDA’s final draft rule is not set in stone at all – the comment period is still open and has seen a significant amount of feedback on sampling and testing issues.