Game Changer for VA Hemp Growers
A couple of months ago, I did a story on farmer’s diversifying by getting a license to grow hemp since it became legal in Virginia in April of this year. At the time I did that story, there were 92 licensed growers. According to recent VDACS data, there are now over 1,000 registered industrial hemp growers across the Commonwealth.
Last year, Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the “Farm Bill,” which legalized and clearly defined hemp as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and making it eligible for crop insurance allowing Virginia farmers to grow and sell the plant as a commodity for use in agriculture, textile, recycling, automotive, furniture, food, nutrition, beverage, paper, personal care, and construction products.
Crop insurance basically covers the cost of production, but just covering the cost of production is not a sustainable model, and hemp crop insurance gives growers a safety net where at least hemp growers can get their costs of production back in case of catastrophic failure such as a hurricane, hail storm or wind storm. AgriLogic has been working with hemp growers and processors across the country to gather data as it develops a Federal Yield-Based Industrial Hemp Crop Insurance Program on behalf of USDA.
Some U.S. Senators and reps secured Virginia’s inclusion in a pilot program by AgriLogic Consulting. Members of Congress said
“We are thrilled to have been able to secure Virginia’s place in this critical pilot program..The Commonwealth has a long history of industrial hemp research and development and Virginia’s inclusion in this pilot program will allow producers to better protect their crops in the event of a natural disaster. Additionally, the data collected from our producers will help provide a stronger and more robust insurance product, benefitting growers, processors, consumers, and taxpayers across the U.S.”
If you’d like to learn more about the laws and specifications of growing hemp, check out the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website, at vdacs.virginia.gov
You can also fill out your registration form as well.
I’d like to thank WDBJ7 and yourGV.com for some of the information I used in this story.
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour