Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue issues warning for hemp farmers

As the hype around hemp ramps up and states issue record numbers of licenses to farmers wanting to capitalize on opportunities the new crop may offer, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said this week he isn’t so sure hemp will be the cash crop everyone is hoping for.

“What is the market potential of industrial hemp? Farmers in the United States are so productive, they could crash this market before it gets off the ground,” Perdue told online news agency Cheddar on Tuesday.

“You would think that was the only thing in the Farm Bill from the questions that we get.”

Perdue predicted that hemp farmers would likely avoid further pursuits into the cannabis market.

“They are not interested in growing marijuana,” Perdue said.

“They understand the conflict between some states being legal and federal law being illegal.”

Perdue’s comments follow last week’s hemp program and 2018 Farm Bill webinar, in which hemp industry leaders told the USDA what is needed in hemp regulation.

Faster rulemaking, immediate hemp transportation laws that were promised under the 2018 Farm Bill, common national THC-testing standards and an end to restrictions on imported seed in time for the 2019 season were among the industry’s most common requests.

The secretary told the hemp industry in February that the USDA would postpone reviewing state and tribal hemp plans until the rules were set for the 2020 season.

The USDA’s agricultural marketing service administrator, Bruce Summers, said last week that the agency will aim to complete the hemp production regulations by fall 2019, in time for states to submit plans for the 2020 spring hemp planting season.

The USDA-AMS has made the Farm Bill webinar available on its website, where it also will address questions and additional comments. These can be sent to [email protected].

7 comments on “Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue issues warning for hemp farmers
  1. Sandra Sim on

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  2. Charles on

    I’m a bit suspicious of Mr. Perdue’s intent to discourage any potential small independent farmers from entering the hemp industry.
    Seems he wants a clear path for Big Ag to come in and dominate the industry.
    Why discourage people when the thing hasn’t even started yet?
    Seems very suspicious indeed.

  3. Greg Hale on

    Sonny Perdue is a Veterinarian turned businessman and politician. So, exactly what makes him an authority on the future impact and economic potential of this new (re-emerging) and highly complex crop. And… how can he argue with the current sales figures and estimates (by real analysts) for billion dollar growth leaps? This writer needs to understand that we don’t believe politicians anymore…especially since 2016.

    • Bonita Secunda on

      I agree. I believe that the politicians are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in Florida. Of course it is lucrative! I have just finished months of research into growing hemp. We have been growing it in Vermont this year. It is a great crop & I would advise you to not stop researching, and plan for 2020. Chins up!

  4. Ray on

    I am a proponent for having a viable, active, well implemented Social Equity Program in the HEMP industry.
    The Cannabis industry has one , so why not have one in the HEMP industry also?
    I think Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is trying to discourage and silence any voices calling out for a Social Equity Program. If people are discouraged from becoming independent farmers, it will leave the entire hemp market in the hands of the Big Ag Corporations. Shame on Mr. Perdue.

  5. Stephen P Weiss on

    Mr Secretary, how about utilizing your Ag Department to actually help this hemp industry get re-established into the giant it once was!! Showing market support & helping develop textile, paper, plastic, hemp-crete & fuel…and so many more uses…..getting our own factories back into production using a home grown product…..we’ve overproduced on milk, soybeans & corn for years.
    Corporate America doesn’t want to lose any market shares….sad to see the corporate greed but this truly is a plant that will not be put down & away!!
    Represent the American Family Farmer like your oath states….we get enough lip service & empty promises as it is!

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