Missouri’s hemp industry leaders band together in call to state
Missouri Hemp Trade Association, Missouri Hemp Association, and Missouri Hemp Producers Association have joined together with other industry leaders in a call for action to Gov. Mike Parson and Missouri Department of Agriculture.
After reviewing the USDA suggested guidelines for state programs and testing, farmers and members from around the state reached out to their respective leadership voicing their disapproval. They have reached out to neighboring states to fight back against what industry leaders have called unfair and overzealous restriction.
“If you follow what’s written, they are taking the legs out from under the industry,” Tyler Morgan, President of Missouri Hemp Trade Association said. “CBD as it is now could just be gone – 80 percent or more of what was grown last year wouldn’t exist.”
As a result, these leaders have called upon the Governor and Missouri Department of Agriculture to move forward with an independent state controlled program without the oversight of the USDA and without submitting a USDA plan proposal.
Morgan said of the letter, “It’s time for Missouri to move forward under our own laws. The USDA has given us that option since our law is authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. We need to ensure that we keep our voice beyond the end of the comment period and extend our reach to our surrounding states so that we can influence this in the right direction.”
For their part the Missouri Department of Agriculture is working to establish regulations and procedures in advance of the 2020 industrial hemp growing season. As part of the rulemaking process, the Department is asking for public comment on the proposed industrial hemp rules. The comment period comes to an end on from December 1, 2019. To view and comment on the proposed rules, click here.
Alternately, USDA is also accepting comment for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program interim final rule. The comment period continues through December 30, 2019. You may submit comment on the USDA rules here.
The U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program interim final rule outlines provisions for the USDA to approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp and establishes a Federal plan for producers in States or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan.
The letter reads:
Dear Governor Parson
On behalf of The Missouri Hemp Trade Association, The Missouri Hemp Association, The Missouri Hemp Producers Association, Vote Hemp, and the combined membership of our associations, we are presenting this open letter in support of The Missouri Department of Agriculture proceeding under our own state statute as signed and voted into law by SB 133 for the 2020 growing season.
We propose that Missouri does not submit a state plan to the USDA or issue additional emergency rules based on the proposed USDA interim final rules (IFR) until July 2020. This will allow us to complete our comment period as a state for the Proposed Rules that ends on Dec .1, 2019 and proceed under our Missouri statute that became effective on August 28, 2019. The USDA IFR allows for a 12 month extension for individual states to operate under their own laws as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. This includes the state of Missouri for the 2020 growing season as our law is specifically authorized under the 2014 farm bill.
Individually and jointly we and our members have specific concerns with the proposed regulations for the Missouri Industrial Hemp Program and we will submit those concerns and recommendations as we participate in the comment period that closes at the end of November. We have additional concerns with the USDA IFR and will also submit our comments to the USDA.
Our most immediate concern is that we stand as a state behind the statutes that we have all worked diligently to establish over the last years and that our law becomes part of the voice to affect the conversation on the national stage. Together with our associations, together as the State of Missouri, and together with our surrounding states and Hemp associations we do have a voice. We have an opportunity to continue to have a voice in 2020. We ask for your support and offer our help in establishing Missouri and the Midwest as the cornerstone of the industrial hemp industry.