1/5/2022 – As of January 1, 2022 all hemp growers in North Carolina must be licensed through the USDA National Hemp Program.
The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, which was overseen by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services under the direction of NC Industrial Hemp Commission ended on December 31, 2021.
If you have a NC Industrial Hemp Commission issued hemp growers license, it is no longer valid, even if it was not due to expire yet. You should not have any hemp growing, in the field, greenhouse, or grow-room, at this time unless you have a USDA hemp production license.
You may still have hemp in your possession that you grew in 2021 or earlier under your NC issued license. That is fine, although I suggest you keep a copy of your 2021 NC hemp growers license on hand in case there is any question about it.
But if you had hemp growing in the greenhouse or grow-room in December 2021 and it is still growing there now, you should have a USDA hemp production license. Many NC hemp growers who applied to the USDA hemp program last year after they learned that the NC program was ending, received their licenses this week.
The requirements for the USDA hemp production license are a little different than they were for the NC hemp license, including the need for a FBI Identity History Summary (criminal background check) and fingerprinting. In addition, growers will have to select and pay for a USDA certified sampling agent to collect their compliance samples.
Growers will also select the lab for those samples to be sent to and pay for the lab testing. There is, however, no fee for the license itself. The grower must also register with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and report their acreage each year. Here is the link to the National Hemp Program. Here is the link to the NC Hemp Program Transition Webinar.
To apply for a USDA hemp production license, you will need to create an account using the Hemp eManagement Platform. Here is the list of the USDA certified sampling agents in North Carolina (and there are many!): USDA Certified Sampling Agent Directory.