VAAFM Requests an Extension of the Re-opened Comment Period on the Interim Final Rule Governing a Domestic Hemp Production Program
September 14, 2020 | The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) requested that the re-opened comment period on the Interim Final Rule Governing the Domestic Hemp Production Program be extended until the end of 2020. The comment period is currently open until October 8, 2020. The VAAFM expressed concerns that growers subject to the IFR are actively sampling, testing and harvesting during this period and may not have an opportunity to comment or to reflect on how the current construction of the IFR related to these activities impacts their operations.
During the re-opened comment period USDA is soliciting comments addressing specific aspects of the IFR, including but not limited to:
- the liquid chromatography factor of 0.877 to calculate total THC concentration,
- the disposal and remediation of non-compliant crops,
- a negligence threshold increase from 0.5% to 1%,
- the 15-day harvest window from sampling,
- sampling and testing requirements for producers of hemp for other markets than mature flower,
- establishing regulatory clarity for hemp breeding and research facilities, and
- exploring other sampling methods.
VAAFM encourages all stakeholders in the Vermont hemp industry to take this second opportunity to shape national hemp production standards by submitting written comments. For more information about comment period and how to submit a formal comment please visit, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/08/2020-17659/establishment-of-a-domestic-hemp-production-program-comment-period-reopened.
Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program
October 1, 2020 | Montpelier, VT - The deadline for the Vermont COVID-19 Agricultural Assistance Program (VCAAP) Dairy Assistance Application and Agriculture & Working Lands Application has been extended to November 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM. This extension and some important changes to the grant programs were included in new legislation.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture will continue to process applications received prior to the initial deadline of October 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM. The Agency will temporarily suspend taking new applications for a couple of weeks to update the application. The Agency will let the public know when the application is up and running again.
During this interim period, the Agency strongly encourages potential applicants to gather documentation of their losses and costs related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prepare to apply when the applications reopen.
If you have questions call the Agency at 802-828-2430, select #9, or send an email to Agr.Covidresponse@vermont.gov with any questions.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets established its contaminant action limits for hemp crops and products. Registrants must have their crops and products tested for the purposes of compliance with the Vermont Hemp Rules. If you have questions regarding testing and action limits, please contact the program at AGR.HempLabCertification@vermont.gov
To register to grow or process hemp by visiting the online hemp registration and compliance portal enabling Hemp Program participants to complete their registration application online. Central functions of the portal include the ability to map cultivation areas and processing sites within the registration application and to accept online payments via credit card and electronic check. This functionality is just the beginning of online features. The Agency anticipates offering more functionality over the coming months that will facilitate communications between registrants and the Hemp Program, and aid in Agency research and reporting.
The Agency through its Hemp Program, authorized under 6 V.S.A., chapter 34, accepts registration applications from interested hemp growers and processors. Vermont's program has no residency requirements, minimum acreages, or limitations on the numbers of registrants. This is an annual registration. Registrations issued in previous years are not valid beyond their expiration date. Growers and processors must have a valid registration prior to sowing through harvesting, drying and processing.
The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) under 6 V.S.A., chapter 34 has adopt rules establishing how the AAFM will conduct research within its hemp program and the requirements for the registration of hemp growers and processors. These rules also address standards and expectations for record keeping, reporting, testing, and labeling, and include enforcement provisions.
Industrial hemp or hemp is the Cannabis sativa L. plant including all parts of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. In Vermont, hemp is considered an “agricultural product” when grown by an individual that is registered with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (the "Agency") as part of its pilot program. Cannabis sativa L. with a delta- 9 THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis is not hemp and is not an agricultural product.
Questions about the Hemp Program can be directed to Agr.Hemp@vermont.gov or 802-828-1732.
Complaints about hemp cultivation or processing can reported to the Agency using the Environmental Complaint Form.
VERMONT AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD & MARKETS COMMENTS ON USDA'S INTERIM FINAL RULE GOVERNING HEMP PRODUCTION
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) filed comments on United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Interim Final Rule (IFR) establishing a Domestic Hemp Production Program. VAAFM acknowledged the complexity of developing a national hemp production program, but asked USDA to revise its rule to stay within the federal statutory mandate and avoid creating unnecessary restrictions that significantly increase costs and risks to producers.
2020 Farmshow Hemp Presentation
On Wednesday January 29th at the 2020 Vermont Farmshow, the Agency of Agriculture held a Hemp Program Q&A session to address questions and concerns about the upcoming 2020 growing season. 28 people attended the conversation, with much focus placed on the USDA Interim Final Rule and the rules that will impact the 2020 growing season in Vermont.
Vermont will operate under its hemp production pilot program enabled under the 2014 Farm Bill for the 2020 growing season. All growers and processors of hemp in Vermont are required to register with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to grow or process hemp in 2020. The Agency also continues to develop its Cannabis Quality Control Program governing the certification of laboratories that conduct compliance testing for potency and contaminants.
Registered Processors sourcing from Vermont Hemp Farmers (list)