Quick Update From NC Hemp Commission Meeting
5/1/2020 – The NC Industrial Hemp Commission met this morning. It was a short meeting with the major business to approve new hemp grower licenses. But there were a few items that came up that I thought would be of interest to you.
Paul Adams, with N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gave the current status of our license holders in the state:
1,481 licensed hemp growers
17,167.3 licensed acres
7,262,454.59 licensed square feet of greenhouse space
1,061 registered processors.
Fen Rascoe, the farm professional on the Hemp Commission, urged the new licensed growers to be very cautious getting into the industry. He talked about the “Gold Rush” mentality that surrounded the hemp industry in 2019 and that fact that there is still so much inventory that growers can’t sell. After reviewing the license applications, he is concerned that there are too many new growers starting production this year without contracts. His words of advice were “Do not grow without at contract”.
Sandy Stewart, NCDA&CS representative on the Hemp Commission, pointed out that North Carolina’s ability to operate their current pilot hemp program will expire on October 31, 2020. What happens after that is uncertain. We do not know if our NC licensed growers will be grandfathered into the new USDA federal hemp program or not. NCDA&CS’s position has been that NC does not have the resources to run a hemp program under the new federal interim hemp rule. What they have proposed to the federal government is that NC be allowed to operate for several more years under the current pilot program as part of the federal COVID-19 relief program. He reminds all NC licensed hemp growers that there is a lot of uncertainty and grey areas. We do not know what is going to happen come November 1, 2020.