The Missouri Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the first season of hemp cultivation in the state in more than 70 years. The application process is already online. Potential hemp farmers must submit to officials parcel maps of the proposed crops and fingerprints along with their applications.
According to the agency, the state program will first use federal guidelines as regulations. Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said that approach would help both farmers and regulators see what works best for all of the state’s industry stakeholders.
“Industrial Hemp has been a moving target for many regulatory agencies this year. After working with producers, closely analyzing the federal requirements passed down by Congress and USDA, and incorporating our own state law, we determined that Missouri should spend the 2020 growing season learning more about what works in our state. We are confident this is the best choice for our producers in Missouri.” – Chinn, in a statement
Sami Jo Freeman, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, told St. Louis Public Radio that all interested producers should be sure to wait for final approval “so that legally they are in a good spot.”
Despite federal reforms last year, law enforcement officials throughout the U.S. have confiscated hemp being transported between states. Freeman added that the new crop has been a learning experience for the industry and officials since it was re-legalized.
“Not only for the industry, but for government entities who are trying to provide opportunities for producer and industry feedback. But also strike that balance of doing our job as we see it in state government to provide the framework,” Freeman said in the report.
The agency is expected to begin processing applications on January 2.