By Noah Chen
If you’re a hemp farmer, few pieces of legislature could be more impactful than the FDA’s final rule. The final rule published in January, but went into effect March 22, 2021. It describes the processes through which farmers are legally allowed to farm hemp and the system for testing one’s hemp to make sure it is legal to sell.
This is the finalization of the “interim rule” which established the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. This program was a legal necessity created by the 2018 Farm Bill. The last three years then allowed officials to gather more information on the hemp farming process before finalizing anything.
This changes how farmers test their plants and what happens if they violate the legal limit.
Final rule increases hemp negligence limit
The final rule saw the THC negligence limit in hemp raised from 0.5 percent to one percent. Since THC is the compound in hemp that creates the psychoactive high, hemp is only legal if it has very low levels of THC.
The maximum legal amount of THC hemp can contain hasn’t changed; it’s still 0.3 percent. But, increasing the negligence limit means farmers have a bigger window to avoid a negligence violation.
Of course, this is great news as it is now less risky for farmers to start growing hemp. Farmers can get one negligence violation a year. However, if they get three violations within a five year period, they lose the ability to grow hemp for an additional five years.
Hemp testing window extended
Farmers have to get their hemp tested to make sure it’s under the legal limit before they are able to process and sell it. Under the interim rules, farmers had to submit plant specimens for testing 15 days before the anticipated harvest date.
It turns out 15 days was not enough, as labs were overrun with test specimens and couldn’t always get results back in time. This made it difficult for farmers to know if they were in the clear to harvest their hemp or if the crop had to get destroyed.
Now farmers have a full 30 days to submit their plant specimens for testing. Not only does this mean the labs will get everyone’s results back in time, but less hemp should test over the legal limit since farmers can procure samples earlier in the growing season.
More options for disposing of hot hemp
It’s sometimes difficult to avoid hot hemp, or hemp that tests over the legal THC limit. Any hemp that tested hot under the interim rule had to get destroyed by independent contractors.
The final rule gives farmers more options for disposing of their hot hemp. Independent contractors aren’t the only legal disposal method anymore. Hot hemp can even get repurposed for biomass or blended, once the flowers get removed, to create lower potency products.
The final rule may make hemp farming easier
At the end of the day, the most recent changes to hemp farming should benefit the farmers. Less hemp will test hot, and there’s a good chance the hemp that does will still turn a profit for farmers.
All that said, a hemp crop is nothing without the right processor, and in the South, that means Arbor Vita8. Our expertise and industry experience is second-to-none. Not only that, but our seed-to-sale array of services means you get the very best in care and quality every step of the way. To ensure your crop becomes a superior product, contact Arbor Vita8 today.