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USDA launches insurance for hemp producers

USDA launches insurance for hemp producers

Growers in select counties will be eligible for coverage

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide crop insurance to some hemp growers beginning in 2020.

As stated in the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on a dry-weight basis. Any hemp exceeding that amount would be classified as marijuana and therefore be an illegal drug.

Farmers in select counties in 21 states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Pennsylvania, will be eligible for Actual Production History coverage under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI).

The MPCI coverage is for hemp production for fiber, grain or cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the 2020 crop year.

This suite of insurance is in addition to the Whole Farm Revenue Protection coverage announced earlier in 2019.

To qualify for MPCI coverage, farmers must follow the regulations set out in the 2018 Farm Bill and have been growing hemp for one year.

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

The USDA also plans to include hemp in another insurance category beginning in 2021.

That year, hemp will be insurable under the nursey crop insurance program and the nursey value select pilot crop insurance program. Under these plans, farmers can insure hemp crops grown in containers, so long as the producers are in compliance with all regulations.

Farms.com has reached out to U.S. hemp growers for comment.

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