USDA's Nationwide Hemp Industry Survey
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is undertaking a comprehensive survey, reaching out to thousands of hemp farmers across the country. This initiative is part of the USDA's annual data collection effort to better understand the hemp industry's current state, growth, and challenges.
Background and Evolution of the Survey
Launched initially in 2021, the USDA's annual survey has been updated and distributed to farmers, with previous findings indicating significant declines in the crop's value and production in 2022. This year's survey aims to delve deeper into various aspects of hemp farming.
Focus Areas of the Survey
The questionnaire covers a range of topics, including outdoor hemp production plans, operational acreage, primary and secondary uses of the crop, and market prices. Specific areas of interest include smokable hemp, grain for human consumption, fiber, seeds, and CBD, CBG, CBN extraction for various products.
Objective and Publication of Results
The Hemp Production and Disposition Inquiry aims to provide critical data to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other industry stakeholders. The results of this survey are scheduled for publication on the USDA's website on April 17.
Additional Survey Questions
Further inquiries in the survey address hand-trimming practices, yield harvesting, and the sourcing of seeds and clones. This comprehensive approach seeks to capture a holistic view of the hemp farming process and its nuances.
USDA's Separate National Survey for Hemp Businesses
In 2020, the USDA announced a separate national survey in collaboration with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky. This survey focuses on production costs, practices, and marketing strategies in the hemp industry.
Policy Conflicts and Federal Hemp Rules
The USDA is reportedly revoking hemp licenses for farmers also growing marijuana under state-approved programs, highlighting the policy conflicts arising from federal cannabis prohibition. These issues underscore the need for clear and consistent regulatory frameworks.
Future Amendments and Industry Proposals
As part of the upcoming agriculture legislation, federal hemp rules could see amendments, including measures to allow hemp businesses to market products like CBD as dietary supplements and to remove restrictions on industry participation by individuals with certain drug convictions.
Current Challenges and Economic Conditions
Despite the legalization of hemp, the industry faces unique regulatory hurdles that have contributed to the crop's plummeting value. However, a recent report found that the hemp market in 2022 was comparable in size to all state marijuana markets and craft beer sales nationally.
USDA's Internal Policies on Cannabis Products
Internally, USDA food safety workers are advised to exercise caution and avoid cannabis products, including federally legal CBD, due to an uptick in positive THC tests and confusion amid increasing state-level legalization.