After the USDA released its 161-page interim final rule setting out a national regulatory framework for hemp, we understand many hemp farmers and other stakeholders have questions about the next steps for South Carolina’s Hemp Farming Program.
In the interests of transparency and to assist farmers with business planning, we are releasing some information on what the next few months hold.
In order to comply with state law, The South Carolina Department of Agriculture submitted a “placeholder” state hemp plan to USDA in August because the interim final rule had not yet been released. Now, we are working to gather comments on the rule, as well as to write a new state plan.
We intend to open applications for the 2020 growing season on Feb. 1, 2020. However, in an abundance of caution, we plan to extend current permits through May 1, 2020. See this timeline for more details.
For the 2020 growing season, we will no longer allow permitted farmers to let responsible parties grow hemp under their license: Anyone growing hemp in South Carolina will have to be a permitted hemp farmer. Current responsible parties who intend to grow hemp next year should make plans to apply for their own permit, or to destroy any hemp in their possession in accordance with state law when the permit under which they are licensed expires.
We still invite hemp farmers and other stakeholders to share their concerns and questions about the interim final rule with SCDA, or to submit comments to USDA themselves. We have posted a brief summary of the interim rule online. Comments on the rule can be emailed to email@example.com. Please include a name, contact information, and a Hemp Farming License number, if applicable.