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Montana Ag Network: Application deadline for hemp licenses approaching

Posted: 10:31 AM, Apr 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-26 12:31:49-04

HELENA – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding producers that the application deadline for 2019 hemp licenses is one week away.

The MDA must receive the application and appropriate fees by May 1, 2019.

Ben Thomas, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture, shared helpful information for producers looking to apply for licenses.

“There were some big changes in the 2018 farm bill that was signed into law last December,” said Thomas. “What that bill did was to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances, but it does require those states who want to allow the production of hemp to do so under an approved state plan.”

He added the state plan has certain requirements so producers must grow hemp under an MDA license at this time.

The department will issue hemp grower licenses in two progressive stages. A conditional license will be issued to eligible applicants so they may purchase seed. Conditionally licensed applicants are those that have paid the initial fee. Full grower license requirements include growing location(s), seed variety(s), landowner signature(s), the signed Risk Acknowledgement Statement and any additional fees.

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Montana must follow strict federal testing protocol for hemp production. To afford the testing, hemp fees will increase in the coming weeks.

The department also encourages producers to vet businesses that want to buy hemp products directly.

“Feel free to contact us if you’re dealing with someone who’s making big promises on contracts to buy what you grow,” said Thomas. “If you’ve never heard this company, check in with us find out what we know. There’s definitely a lot of interest in this new crop, but there’s also a lot of risk and we want to avoid as much of that as we can.”

An industrial hemp license issued by the state provides authorization for the production of industrial hemp at a particular growing area by a particular individual or entity. Licenses expire on the last day of April following the year the license is issued.

Completed applications can be sent to the Department at:

Montana Department of Agriculture
Hemp Program
PO Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620

In other agriculture news, the U.S. and China will resume trade talks next week.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to China to meet with trade officials along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Next week’s discussions will cover intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and more. Both sides appear hopeful to reach a draft agreement by the end of May. The negotiations, which stem from the tit-for-tat trade war last year, bring hope that tariffs will come to an end for U.S. agriculture.

However, the ongoing African swine fever outbreak in China, which is forcing a more than 20 percent drop in China’s hog production, will also reduce demand for soybeans and feed products, a top agriculture export product for the United States. But, If the two sides can reach a favorable agreement, the U.S. could be in a position to provide additional pork, chicken and beef exports to China to cover the production loss.

In additional news, the price of your BLT could be going up.

Threatened tariffs could hike tomato prices between 40 and 85 percent if the U.S. withdraws from the Tomato Suspension Agreement on May 7 and applies duties on Mexican tomatoes. At the request of tomato growers from Florida, the Department of Commerce announced the U.S. would end the current suspension agreement.

By doing so, the U.S. would resume an anti-dumping investigation that could result in steep duties on Mexican tomatoes.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News