SC Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Hemp Update

Changes are underway for the Hemp Farming Program in South Carolina following the release of USDA’s Interim Final Rule. Here to tell us more is Commissioner Hugh Weathers.

  • This was the 2nd year of hemp farming in South Carolina, and we just got some new federal guidance that will shape next year’s program.
  • At the end of October, USDA released its Interim Final Rule establishing a national regulatory framework for hemp. You can review the Interim Rule in its entirety on USDA’s website.
  • One of the big changes under USDA’s rule is to testing requirements. The rule requires that within 15 days prior to the anticipated harvest, a state, federal or tribal official would have to take samples to test for THC. (Currently, we ask farmers to sample their crop themselves and submit their certified lab results to the agency.)
  • Another change is the rule makes it clear that interstate transport of hemp is OK – even across states that don’t allow hemp farming.
  • SCDA plans to submit comments on the rule by December 16. We welcome hemp farmers and other stakeholders to share their comments, questions and concerns by emailing hempstaff@scda.sc.gov, no later than December 9.
  • SCDA plans to submit a State Plan to USDA for approval by January 15, which will then be reviewed by the USDA for approval.
  • We plan to open applications for the 2020 growing season on February 1, 2020.
  • For more information on hemp and the 2020 growing season, please review the hemp page on SCDA’s website: agriculture.sc.gov/hemp or contact our hemp team at 803-737-9700.