It’s legal in Alabama to grow and process industrial hemp. To work as a hemp farmer, processor or harvester, you need a license. All restrictions and regulations, not to mention instructions, come from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI.) Even those hemp farmers licensed for 2019 will need to apply again for 2020. Here’s what you need to know now about Alabama’s hemp laws.
- Alabama’s definition of hemp means it’s no longer a controlled substance. It’s legal in the state. Defined as an agriculture commodity, it falls under the same category as cows, eggs, cotton and peanuts. WIth the proper license, you can legally farm hemp throughout the state.
- Getting a hemp farmer license requires you to submit both an application and formation documents during the right time of year. In 2020, the licensing period is from October 5 to November 20, 2020. You can apply online, by email or mail in your paperwork.
- You must also submit a Grow Plan, which spells out your intentions for growing hemp in the state. The deadline for this comes before the open license period in the fall. Prepare your paperwork as early as possible to stay on top of deadlines.
- The level of THC in the crop matters heavily in hemp farming. Too high, and you have to destroy the crop. In Alabama, a crop’s THC level must be at or below .3 percent on a dry weight basis to qualify as hemp. To ensure this, each crop gets tested by the ADAI within 15 days of the anticipated harvest date.
- Pesticides used on hemp crops must get registered with the ADAI. In Alabama, to legally use a pesticide on any crop, it either needs approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or a documented exception under Section 25(b) of FIFRA. Before putting any chemicals on your crop, consider organic alternatives to help grow the best plants. If pesticides are necessary, make sure they’re legal in Alabama. ADAI can perform a pesticide inspection at random, without warning to test your hemp plants.
More information on testing and harvesting
Aside from the requested paperwork to get your hemp growers license in Alabama, the THC testing process generates the most questions. The biggest rule to note is the legal timeframe between your THC test and harvest. Two weeks is not that long, and it’s up to you to provide ADAI with a 14-day window before harvest. As long as you do that, ADAI has to get the testing done in that window.
Plants from each hemp plot go into the sample for analysis. If THC content comes back above .3 percent, the crop isn’t viable. It gets destroyed. Once tests come back in the green, you have 14 days to harvest. Waiting longer, and your crop gets destroyed.
Most hemp farmers in the state harvest within the same few weeks, so don’t delay getting on the schedule. It gets busy. Following this particular rule helps make the process easier for you.
Resources for hemp farmers
Because this is a newer crop for farmers to take on in Alabama, there are a ton of resources available to help. The ADAI breaks down Alabama’s hemp program in excellent detail on their website. They also offer a robust page of frequently asked questions.
Should you continue to have questions, or concerns about the legality of your farm, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Arbor Vita8 strives to work closely with farmers in Alabama from seed to harvesting, cultivation and processing. We have the equipment and resources to support your grow every step of the way, not to mention a deeper understanding of the laws and regulations we all have to follow. Our Partner Farmer program takes that relationship one step further, allowing us to guarantee you assistance every step of the way, while also saving you money. To learn more about our bus