With the Indiana hemp plan approved by USDA for the 2021 growing season, Indiana is going into its first commercial-scale growing year after five years of permitting hemp farming for research. The state is using new software for permitting and compliance that will ease this transition.
Don Robison, seed administrator at the Office of Indiana State Chemist, says growers can apply for a permit for various sites, dropping a pin for each location where hemp will be grown and dried. Every spot must be federally registered per USDA rules. Access a webinar reviewing how to use the software online at oisc.purdue.edu.
“If there’s a site change because a field flooded, they’re going to have to change the location. The software allows you to delete one location and add another,” Robison says.
Robison admits his department was envious of a similar tool the Illinois Department of Agriculture used in 2020 during its second commercial hemp farming season. “For a basic program, it was really slick,” he says. “But this is going to be well beyond that.”
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Indiana will train certified crop advisers in the spring to sample hemp fields for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. As long as samples test below 0.3% THC, the plant is legally called hemp and doesn’t have to be destroyed.
Farmers must upload test results to the software as the state chemist’s office spot-checks. If the test for a field is ever above 0.3% THC, that crop must be destroyed to the point where the flower is irretrievable.
Farmers must upload images and get approved for a method of destruction through the software. Robison notes, “We’ll approve it as long as whatever method you use makes it irretrievable. We had several counties with a burn order in 2020, and we had guys chop it and till it under. That’s an option.”