Tacoma, WA-The Industrial Hemp Association of Washington is excited and proud to announce that researchers from Oregon State University and Washington State University are part of a new $10 million grant that will study hemp and define economic opportunities in the western United States.
This game changing grant, led by Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, is a five-year project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. WSU scientists are partnering with eight institutions across the nation and many industry partners, including the Industrial Hemp Association of Washington, to addresses the needs of Native American and other rural community farmers and businesses in a four-state West Coast region.
“In the Fall of 2018, I sketched out the basic approach and justification of this project while parked at the south end of the US Hwy 97 crossing of the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, recognizing the synergistic potentials for this new crop and its supply chain system along this transportation corridor, and the benefits to the adjacent rural and tribal economies from Mexico to Canada,” said Jay Noller, Founder and Director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center, and Oregon’s leader for hemp research since 2014.
Establishing a successful hemp industry requires research on where different hemp grain, fiber, and essential oil market classes could be optimally grown and the best genetics to use. The researchers will look at how to incorporate hemp into existing crop production systems to complement rather than disrupt markets, where to process the grown materials that are used to manufacture hemp products, and what are the likely growth markets to support industry expansion and community development.
The research team will address these questions by targeting the rural transportation corridor that traverses Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California east of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada Mountains from Canada to Mexico. The region represents diverse, generally arid environmental conditions, and encompasses both large areas of irrigated and non-irrigated production.
“We’re interested in what hemp varieties are best for western growers across the region. Many of them are interested in growing the crop for fiber and grain,” said David Gang, professor in WSU’s Institute of Biological Chemistry. “Hemp has a lot of amazing properties and potential, especially in producing building material and feedstock for manufacturing bio based products.”
Washington State has a strong agricultural and technical background that is ripe for hemp growth in the field and out. “Our hemp industry, rural communities, and tribes will benefit significantly from the research WSU will be doing on such a pivotal project. This will be a long-term collaboration that will continue to evolve and support the hemp industry in the state,” said Bonny Jo Peterson, Founder and IHEMPAWA Executive Director. “I am ecstatic to be involved as an industry partner in such a forward-looking endeavor and to work with the Global Hemp Innovation Center, WSU, and other industry partners.”
Gang said, “The diverse environments in Washington State make it an ideal location to be a foundation for the regional hemp industry that this grant will help further develop.”
Native American Tribes are significantly represented across the four-state region. The researchers are incorporating Native American farmers and other tribal leaders, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, in the effort with a goal to include their cultural and economic needs as part of their farming and business development efforts.
“The engagement of tribal communities also aims to address historic inequities in agriculture and will engage Native American students in different aspects of the emerging hemp sector. The up-front involvement of tribal communities along with other rural communities in this work is critical to its success. The potential economic opportunities this new commodity presents may provide tremendous potential for rural communities and our project has set out to ensure those opportunities are equally available and relevant to all kinds of farmers,” said Jeffrey Steiner, associate director of GHIC.
Steiner and over two dozen co-investigators spent six months and thousands of hours putting together the grant proposal that involves researchers, educators, and extension specialists from the four-state’s land grant universities, two federal research agencies, business developers, and over 30 industry technical advisors. There are more than half a dozen IHEMPAWA members involved in the project.
The IHEMPAWA is glad to be a partner in this industry-oriented project that will be instrumental in determining if, where, and how much hemp materials can be produced and where processing facilities could be located in the region.
The project should be able to determine the capacity for Washington and the other states to dependably supply hemp materials for manufacturing biobased products. “We consider not only linkages that need to be established between agricultural production and handling, processing, and utilization of materials but also the chicken-or-egg dilemma of how the needed financing can be raised to build out a new regional economy focused on hemp,” said Steiner.
Additional partners on the project include the USDA, Agricultural Research Service; United States Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Research Center, the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program; 7 Generations, a Native American-owned firm that specializes in Indian Country business development; USDA, National Agricultural Library; and the USDA, Western Rural Development Center.
ESB 5372 Has Been Signed by the Governor!!
IHEMPAWA brought this legislation to Olympia as a collaboration of stakeholders working with the WSDA. Hemp processors and businesses are being asked for a hemp processing license and required documentation to sell and market in various states as well as for final products into export markets. Insurance companies and banks also are requiring documentation for processing locations. This bill allows the WSDA to offer a voluntary registration in lieu of a license that will provide the legal documentation needed in most cases for the hemp industry to enter interstate and international markets and do business in Washington State. Some processors will choose to have both the hemp producers license and a processor registration. Hemp processor is defined as a person who takes possession of raw hemp material with the intent to modify, package, or sell a transitional or finished hemp product.
The bill was amended from the original version to include a Hemp Extract Certification. A hemp processor may obtain a voluntary hemp extract certification to allow its use as a food ingredient in another state that allows the use of hemp extract as a food ingredient. WSDA must regulate hemp extract processing the same as other food processing and issue a hemp extract certification in lieu of a food processing license to a hemp processor who meets application requirements. WSDA's oversight is limited to certifying a hemp processor's compliance with applicable inspection and good manufacturing practices requirements. WSDA may adopt rules specific to hemp extract certification and must establish application, initial certification, and renewal fees. A hemp processor holding a hemp extract certification must apply for renewal of the certification annually. Applicants for certification must meet the same requirements as applicants for a food processing license including, but not limited to, successful completion of an inspection by WSDA. WSDA may deny, suspend, or revoke a hemp extract certification on the same grounds that are used for denial, suspension, or revocation of a food processor's license.
The USDA has released Final Rules for Hemp and they have been made official by the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. These rules take effect March 22, 2021. This is what we have until the next Farm Bill comes out and they start all over again with rule making and we see another round of interim then final rules.
30 Day Testing Window for THC Compliance instead of 15 days
Hot Crop Remediation and Destruction Options
Drying is part of harvesting which allows for the movement of hemp crops to a off site drying location after the test is taken but before results are given to farmers. Must declare location of drying and storage on your hemp application or modify your license to include.
No whole plant or homogenized post harvest sample (unless farmers fail first) as IHEMPAWA pushed hard for and actually wrote and passed legislation in WA for in 2019. The top 8 inches of the plant is where samples for compliance testing will be taken from.
Continued lack of clarification on the path to standardized THC testing
DEA Lab Certification
The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018 legalizing Hemp in all 50 states! Now there is much work to do in Washington State to bring us in line with the Farm Bill regarding hemp. Legislation has to be passed in the next session beginning mid January to change our state language to open up farming and the supply chain. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and new licenses are available. Hemp field GPS coordinates and THC results are mandatory under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The WSDA must submit a proposal to the USDA for approval of our new program. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and licenses available. There is a chance the time frame for state laws to change may be after the 2019 planting season begins. Washington's Hemp Research Pilot Program will expire January 1, 2020. The current program rules and regulations will be in effect until state law is implemented and new rules and regulations written and signed off on. There will most likely be a Grandfather Clause for IHRP licensees to move over to the New Program rules and regulations.
A WSDA request for hemp funding was not included in the Governor's budget but is going to be put in this coming legislative session in another form. There are back up plans. I will let you know more on funding and other new hemp program specifics when I have details. Stay Tuned for updates on developments.
Promoting the research and development of Industrial Hemp as an agricultural crop in Washington State as a viable and sustainable ultimate renewable natural resource through the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Supporting and educating pioneers in the field while advocating legislation on their behalves. Members share research and resources as growers, seed and equipment suppliers, food and building material processors, organizations and those who dare to reinvent the wheel to fit into our industry. We are building a sustainable re-emerging industry together. We are here to answer when asked, What is Industrial Hemp and what is it used for?, How do I get a License to grown hemp in WA? How do you grow Industrial Hemp?
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