John Mortenson is the new hemp director for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. He recently answered some questions from Dakota Farmer about the state of industrial hemp in North Dakota.
I thought the 2018 Farm Bill cleared the way for farmers to grow industrial hemp, but from the North Dakota hemp website it still looks pretty restricted. What’s going on?
The farm bill did pass and it redefined hemp to remove it from the Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule I list. But USDA announced that they would not have regulations ready for the 2019 growing season. Because of this, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture will operate the 2019 growing season under the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill.
How many farmers are going to grow hemp?
At this time, we have issued licenses to 33 growers.
If I am interested in growing hemp next year, what would you suggest I do this this year?
At this time, I would recommend just waiting. As soon as USDA releases regulations NDDA will update our regulations.