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USDA Finalizes Hemp Regulations

Earlier this year, the USDA finalized its rule for hemp farmers across the country that will go into effect in March. These new changes can impact  how farmers in Utah will grow their crop this year. 

After decades of being banned, the 2018 Farm Bill kicked the hemp industry into action. Now a final rule has been made about growing hemp in the United States.

Some rules that Utah farmers were concerned about were addressed in the USDA’s new regulation. 

One rule that has always seen pushback is the amount of THC, which is the chemical compound that gets you high, is allowed in the plant.   Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s Cody James said farmers have been wanting to raise the standard THC content from .3%. 

“We get a lot of pushback to increase that, in order for us to be a legitimate state program through that's registered for the USDA, we have to follow those guidelines as well,” said James. 

Before harvesting their hemp, farmers have to get their THC content tested. If their crop came back with below point three percent THC, they only had 15 days to harvest. This puts a lot of work for both the farmers and regulatory agents that would check on the farms. Part of the new national rules will help with this. 

“Growers have 30 days to be able to harvest their plants from the time that they get their plants tested originally," said James.  The labs that you used to test the product still has to be DEA registered by a certain amount of time.”

Another change that Utah will be making is creating guidelines for all the different types of processors.