2018 Farm Bill Makes Hemp Production Legal Only In Certain Situations

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. 

Image of hemp research plots with University of Kentucky. Image by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

            Farmers across the country are looking to begin producing hemp.  The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to develop hemp research programs, but the 2018 Farm Bill significantly changes the classification of hemp and allows states to begin developing regulations for legal hemp production.  The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act and allows states and tribal governments to begin developing hemp production plans.  Hemp produced under these plans will potentially be eligible for federal crop insurance.  Although the 2018 Farm Bill has made changes to hemp, it is still currently not legal to grow hemp in Maryland until the state develops and has an approved hemp production plan in place.

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Gleaning Unharvested Crops and Crop Insurance or NAP Coverage

 

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Student farm at Penn State.  Image is by Penn State University

 

During the growing season, producers may allow various nonprofits to come on the farm and collect unharvested crops after harvesting. In many cases, it may be not economically profitable to harvest this unharvested portion, or the producer may have had to leave crops unharvested after meeting supply needs for a week. These crops might be left in the field to rot if not for the ability of nonprofits to glean these crops as donations to feed hungry Marylanders. I’ve previously written on liability when allowing gleaners on the farm, to read that post, click here. For those producers who have crop insurance coverage on these crops, is gleaning allowed on insured acres? The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) has requirements that an insured producer should meet before allowing gleaning to take place on their farms. Continue reading

Remember to Certify Conservation Compliance for Crop Insurance Program By Premium Billing Date

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Tilling field with tractor.  Image is by United Soybean Board

As many of you who have purchased crop insurance since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill already know, conservation compliance has been relinked with the crop insurance subsidy. This relinking means that many producers who traditionally have not participated in farm bill programs (such as Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage) were not required to certify conservation compliance. Continue reading