Q: Has USDA Published a Rule Establishing Regulations to Produce Hemp?

A: Yes. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an interim final rule (rule) on October 31, 2019 specifying rules and regulations to produce hemp. The rule is directed by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and is effective October 31, 2019 through November 1, 2021. 

The rule establishes a Federal plan for producers in States that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. The program includes provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing of THC levels, disposing of plants not meeting certain requirements, and licensing requirements. USDA has also outlined provisions to approve plans submitted by States for the domestic production of hemp. 

It is WBA's understanding that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will submit a Hemp Program Plan to USDA. However, DATCP will continue under the 2014 Farm Bill provisions in 2020. DATCP has begun its hemp licensing as of November 1, 2019, for the 2020 hemp season, and is waiting for the State Legislature to approve legislation to align Wisconsin law with the 2018 Farm Bill. At this time, DATCP expects to begin the new program under the 2018 Farm Bill in 2021.

Birrenkott is WBA assistant director - legal. For legal questions, please email wbalegal@wisbank.com.

Note: The above information is not intended to provide legal advice; rather, it is intended to provide general information about banking issues. Consult your institution's attorney for special legal advice or assistance.