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More than 370 individuals have applied as of mid-April for the 2021 season.

Paula Mohr, Editor, The Farmer

April 26, 2021

2 Min Read
hemp plant
LAST REMINDER: Friday (April 30) is the deadline for all hemp growers, processors and researchers to apply for hemp licensure with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.Paula Mohr

Hemp growers, processors and researchers only have until Friday (April 30) to apply for a 2021 license with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

As of mid-April, more than 370 people have applied. for an MDA license. Last year, 542 applied. Margaret Wiatrowski, MDA industrial hemp program coordinator, estimates that close to 450 will apply for 2021.

“We believe that the decrease in the number of applicants is mainly due to low pricing for CBD [cannabidiol] biomass and oil,” Wiatrowski says. “The market for CBD hemp flower, oils and other products became saturated at the end of 2019 and has not recovered.”

hemp growth in Minnesota table

This is the sixth year of the state’s industrial hemp program. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp as an agricultural commodity. Last year, USDA released a final rule that outlined state and tribal plans for growing the crop. Minnesota is operating under a federally approved plan that governs production and regulations. Prior to 2021, Minnesota had been working under a pilot program.

Anyone growing hemp on tribal lands within a reservation’s boundaries or other lands under tribal jurisdiction (e.g., trust lands off-reservation) must obtain a license from the tribe or the USDA if the tribe does not have an approved hemp production plan.

Indoor planting counts, too

In 2020, licensed growers planted around 5,800 acres and 1.46 million square feet of indoor hemp. For perspective, 1 million square feet is the equivalent of 23 acres. Wiatrowski says indoor facilities are distributed across the state, with some clusters around the Twin Cities. Some facilities provide year-round indoor production.

“Many growers start their seeds inside and then transplant outside to finish them,” she explains. “However, they must register the indoor space even though they are not growing plants to maturity inside.”

Most hemp is grown in Minnesota is for human consumption as CBD flower or oils or grain production, she adds, whether it is grown indoor or outdoor. Almost none of it is grown for industrial or nonconsumption purposes.

The online application for growers and processors can be found on the MDA website.

Along with the online form, first-time applicants need to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

Questions about the MDA’s Hemp Program should be sent to [email protected] or 651-201-6600.


About the Author(s)

Paula Mohr

Editor, The Farmer

Mohr is former editor of The Farmer.

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