Washington, DC – The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced the dates for the 9th annual Hemp History Week, to be held June 4-10, 2018. During 2017, over 25,000 acres were planted and harvested in the U.S.—a record number since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Over half of all U.S. states have lifted the ban on industrial hemp farming at the state level, however federal law still prohibits commercial industrial hemp cultivation due to outdated and inaccurate drug policy. With momentum building across the country, and increasing consumer awareness about the health benefits, economic opportunities, technological innovation and sustainability advantages of industrial hemp, advocates and organizers are eager to see 2018 be the year industrial hemp farming expands across the American agriculture landscape and sets deep roots in American soil once again.
To help inform Americans about the agricultural sustainability of industrial hemp, the Hemp History Week campaign has released a new short video, Deep Roots, titled after the 9th annual campaign’s educational theme. Filmed at the Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania, Deep Roots documents the research of Rodale Institute agronomists on cultivating hemp within a regenerative organic no-till agriculture model. Specifically, the video presents the researchers’ insight on hemp’s role in sustainable agriculture, soil health, mitigating climate change, and incorporating hemp into crop rotations and weed management methods. An interview with Rodale Institute farm manager Ross Duffield emphasizes how industrial hemp could play a key role in rejuvenating the soil and economic health of American farmlands, and research technician Tara Caton discusses the attraction pollinators demonstrate toward hemp. To view the new video for the 9th annual campaign, visit: https://youtu.be/wCcTYPQLk8s.
Legislative Challenges and Opportunities in 2018
When the 2013 Farm Bill was signed into law in February of 2014, it allowed for states that have legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. Read the full text of the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment on the Vote Hemp website: http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/Pages_from_farm0127.pdf.
Despite federal progress toward commercial hemp farming since 2014, the hemp industry faces a number of challenges and barriers to full scale farming of industrial hemp, including: inability of hemp farmers to obtain crop insurance and financing, difficulties involved with sourcing certified hemp seed, lack of adequate processing infrastructure in the U.S. for raw hemp materials, illegal government interference with interstate commerce of U.S. grown and manufactured hemp products, and the mis-regulation of CBD products.
The 34 states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, per provision Sec. 7606 of the farm bill, include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.