Indiana Farm Bureau is celebrating after a successful legislative session. Some of the achievements include reducing extraterritorial jurisdiction and securing funding for restoration of the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers, K-12 education, and the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. We’ll bring you more detail on those in the coming days, but the hottest topic this session was the legalization of industrial hemp.
It should be set to go in 2020. Director of State Government Relations for Indiana Farm Bureau Justin Schneider said, “Last year the message was clear from the General Assembly- we need the feds to act. Well, the feds did act in the farm bill and said that hemp is not a controlled substance and that states can create a licensing program. That’s the primary thing that Senate Enrolled Act 516 does. It gives the State Seed Commissioner the authorization to apply to the USDA to get approval to issue hemp production licenses within the state.”
Schneider said that it also establishes an advisory committee to the Seed Commissioner. Indiana Farm Bureau is fortunate in that they get to make a recommendation for a producer to sit on that board.
So, what happens now to get things moving in 2020?
“This next step will be the advisory committee working with the State Seed Commissioner to put the parameters in place. The bill already includes language regarding testing requirements, working with the state police, background checks, those sorts of things that are required under the federal law. So, it’s really just kind of tightening up what those regulations will look like and putting that application together that USDA will then review to make sure that our plan for issuing licenses complies with federal requirements.”
We will continue to follow this story with the Seed Commissioner’s office to bring you all the information you need to grow hemp in Indiana.
The full interview with INFB’s Justin Schneider discussing other policy victories from the legislative session can be heard above.