Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today the U.S. Agriculture Department announcement detailing two risk management programs protecting farmers’ hemp crops from natural disasters takes a significant step to achieve a key piece of his hemp legalization bill.
“Hemp farmers in Oregon and nationwide deserve the same certainty all farmers need of knowing solid insurance options exist if natural disaster strikes their crops,” Wyden said. “I am gratified that predictability is now here, and I will keep pressing both the Agriculture Department and other federal agencies to move forward on other actions such as fair banking regulation and reasonable testing requirements that recognize hemp is a legal product with huge economic potential.”
Wyden’s bipartisan Hemp Farming Act of 2018 clearly defined hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed it from the list of controlled substances. It also gave states the opportunity to become the primary regulators of hemp production, allowed hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and made hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance like these two risk management programs.
In 2012, Wyden was the first senator to introduce legislation to legalize the production of industrial hemp. In 2014, Wyden helped legalize hemp pilot programs and in 2016, secured clarification for farmers after three federal agencies issued new guidance that conflicted with current laws governing the growing and selling of industrial hemp.
In its announcement this week, the federal Agriculture Department said a pilot hemp insurance program will provide coverage against loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain or Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and that a second disaster assistance program will protect against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting where no permanent federal crop insurance program is available.
The deadline for hemp producers to sign up for both programs is March 16, 2020.
A web version of this release is available here.