HIA taps chief, partners with industrial hemp group on marketing checkoff effort

The Hemp Industries Association has appointed former marijuana activist Jody McGinness as its new executive director.

After a monthslong search with nearly 100 qualified candidates, the national hemp association selected McGinness, a veteran association executive in the non-profit sector.

McGinness last served as the head of fundraising for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for  the legalization of adult-use high-THC cannabis.

“We wanted someone with a strong record of leadership when it comes to revamping non-profits, empowering diverse teams for success, and strategic planning and alignment,” said HIA president Rick Trojan.

He added HIA is looking forward to working with McGinness as the association expands and crafts new strategies to lead the hemp industry.

The executive director role has been vacant since the departure of Colleen Lanier at the end of 2019.

McGinness is based in Washington D.C. and said he is inspired by the potential of the U.S. hemp industries to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation to the benefit of all Americans.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the HIA team at what is truly a pivotal moment for the association and the industry,” said McGinness.

One project McGinness will help manage is a partnership with the National Industrial Hemp Council to explore the creation of a national hemp marketing checkoff, an agreement the two associations announced Wednesday.

The NIHC and HIA will form a working group with industry representatives to discuss the details of how a hemp checkoff would be structured and operate, and develop and submit a proposal to the USDA that will include an industry analysis, justification for the program, program objectives and the impact on small businesses.

“A checkoff program further legitimizes a rapidly growing industry and will help hemp farmers compete on a level playing field with producers of other agricultural-related commodities,” said Patrick Atagi, board chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the same agency that wrote the interim final rule for hemp production, oversees marketing checkoff programs to promote farm commodities and expand market opportunities for agricultural industries, funded through assessments at the first point of sale.

Checkoffs pool that money to use for research, education and promotion efforts aimed at expanding sales and improving production efficiencies.

3 comments on “HIA taps chief, partners with industrial hemp group on marketing checkoff effort
  1. Pat Jack on

    Sounds like taxation without representation and a move towards special interests, in a nutshell, fascism, collusion between corporate interests represented by lobbyists and associations to extort money from farmers using the force of government.

    The comparable profit margins on tincture and retail formulations with CBD are metaphorically a magnitude greater than the farmer’s profits. Looking to tax the farmer is an absurd idea, especially with trade and tariff wars raging damaging our farming industry and farmers in the recent past and now with cornonavirus throwing everything in a tailspin. To talk about taxing farmers using the force of the federal government is obscene and is a scheme to prey upon the weak and give power to the wealthy interests and lobbying associations.

    Follow the money, if can see through the shade.

  2. Hemphead on

    First, for some background, see https://hempindustrydaily.com/usda-suggests-farmers-pay-hemp-promotions-fee-offers-no-more-details-on-rule-changes/.

    Not a single comment there in favor of this idea (checkoff program). As mentioned, talk to producers/manufacturers of other products who are forced to pay these fees/taxes, and see how they feel about them. Not good. Since when is the government, and in particular the federal government, the best partner to market and grow your industry? I disagree with those who say hemp does not need any marketing or research — of course it does — but the industry itself, PRIVATE industry, can and should take that role. And it already does, with many associations and industry groups having been formed to do exactly that, such as the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), Hemp Roundtable and Cannabis Industries Association being just a few examples. They don’t FORCE people to pay them to do their work; they earn their support through results and accountability. The government certainly is not held to those same standards.

    One has to wonder why the HIA and the National Industrial Hemp Council are partnering to explore establishing a checkoff program. What the heck are they thinking? Why do they want the USDA to do what they already exist to do themselves? I hope their respective members speak out very loudly against such a plan and the fallacy of “partnering” with the government in this way.

  3. Jay berry on

    This is a joke as someone growing 1,000 acres of fiber in Indiana & building a fiber facility we will not be apart of a check off period. These groups need to get out of our way. As a grower & processor this is directly on our shoulders to promote the industry as we see it. We do not need someone in an office with zero skin in the game telling us what to do. Checkoffs are a failure in corn & beans.

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