WBA’s Scott Birrenkott recently participated in a Hemp Workshop hosted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau). He joined a panel including Senator Patrick Testin and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) representatives. The panel fielded questions from both the moderator and attendees with topics ranging from Wisconsin’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, the future of industrial hemp in Wisconsin both practically and legislatively, and the Federal hurdles still facing the industry. 

Over 100 individuals attended the session. Many attendees appeared eager to work with Wisconsin financial institutions in establishing banking relationships and growing their business through lending opportunities. Some fully understood that banks are heavily regulated, but many were not familiar with those burdens, and the panel presented an opportunity to discuss the compliance requirements that banks face when working with those involved in the industrial hemp industry. 

The farm industry seemed to express general hope that changes incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill could, if signed into law, help ease the burdens facing both hemp businesses and financial institutions. Such changes could potentially ease both Federal concerns and State regulation, which could reduce the compliance burden faced by Wisconsin banks. WBA will continue to monitor the 2018 Farm Bill and DATCP activity regulating the industrial hemp industry.