by Chase Hubbard – The Jacobsen
New York Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said in a letter to farmers on Friday that the agency is bowing out of regulating hemp in the Empire State. Ball emphasized that the onerous requirements found in the USDA’s IFR are burdensome for farmers, but also for states, who are responsible for oversight. Hemp markets are especially vulnerable given the erosion of hemp prices and the increasing regulatory pressure that is testing states’ resolve on the fledgling sector.
In his letter, Ball said “It is the Department’s view that many of the requirements concerning the scope and timing of sampling and testing, the disposal of non-compliant plants, and reporting are unrealistic and impose unreasonable burdens on growers and any state interested in administering a compliant program.”
We noted in previous commentary that the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) have advocated for extending the 2014 Pilot Program to 2021, citing the pandemic as a barrier to state agencies working with lawmakers to develop state hemp plans.
As of today, we don’t see any movement on this front, and we have to assume that the transition to USDA program rules will occur on November 1, ready or not.