The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that it is expanding insurance options for hemp farmers, launching two programs that protect the crop from natural disasters. To be eligible, growers must have planted hemp for at least a year and have a contract for its sale. There also is a minimum requirement of five acres for hemp grown for CBD and 20 acres for hemp harvested to be used as grain or fiber. These new programs will reduce some of the risks of farming a brand-new crop.
As part of the same announcement, the USDA also announced that it will not be amending its proposed rules for hemp to increase the allowable THC limit, arguing that only Congress can change that specific policy. Lawmakers and industry stakeholders have made numerous appeals to the USDA to change its regulations on how much THC is allowed to be present in the crop. As it stands, hemp is defined under the 2018 Farm Bill as having no more than 0.3 percent THC, with a negligence threshold of 0.5 percent. The USDA will also be opening a second public comment period following the 2020 harvest season to solicit more input on the current interim final rule before issuing final regulations.