USDA Decides Hemp Farmers Eligible for Crop Insurance Under Pilot Program

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WASHINGTON, D.C.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be giving hemp farmers the gift of great news just before Christmas.

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced a new crop insurance option to help farmers protect against losses related to drought or plant disease in twenty-one states. Hemp farmers in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin, could qualify for coverage.

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“We are excited to offer coverage to certain hemp producers in this pilot program,” Martin Barbre, administrator for USDA’s Risk Management Agency, said in a press release. “Since this is a pilot program, we look forward to feedback from producers on the program in the coming crop year.”

To qualify, farmers must have followed regulations set by the 2018 farm bill. Farmers must also have been growing hemp for at least one full year. Hemp cultivated for industrial purposes as well as for use in CBD products will be protected under the insurance plan. The plan also requires farmers to adhere to any state and local regulations. Any hemp containing more than 0.3 percent THC will not be eligible.

The USDA also plans to offer coverage for hemp under the Nursery Crop Insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program. 

“Under both programs, hemp will be insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations, any applicable state or tribal laws, and terms of the crop insurance policy,” USDA said. 

Since the 2018 farm bill was passed, many producers of hemp and CBD have been anxiously awaiting detailed regulations from federal agencies. Among some of the pressing issues for the industry have been expanded access to financial services and banking, as well as crop insurance.  

Insurance policies will be provided by private companies. A list of these companies can be found via the RMA Agent Locator

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