The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) plan to regulate hemp production in the Commonwealth, allowing the agency to continue serving as the primary regulator of hemp production in the state.
VDACS must regulate hemp in accordance with the 2018 federal Farm Bill’s hemp provisions and VDACS Commissioner Brad Copenhaver said that while federal rules “require some adjustments” to the Commonwealth hemp program, the agency intends “to continue the productive, supportive relationship” it has had with Virginia hemp producers since its program was established.
“By operating this program under USDA’s new requirements, we aim to provide our hemp industry with certainty and parity, as all of the nation’s hemp producers are now expected to comply with the same set of rules.” — Copenhaver in a press release
Under the rules, each hemp industry applicant must submit a criminal background check to VDACS; growers must have their crops tested by private laboratories for THC concentrations 30 days prior to harvest and report certain crop information to the USDA Farm Service Agency.
The rules include testing exceptions for institutes of higher education researchers and certain growers producing hemp for fiber under contract with processing facilities.
According to the WVTF report, VDACS indicated there were 891 registered industrial hemp growers in Virginia as of Aug. 31, 2021. For the 2020 growing year, there were 1,091, and about half of those submitted planting reports to federal regulators.
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USDA Approves Updated Virginia Hemp Plan