Experts in production, research, academia, and private industry will participate in a joint project between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service and Cornell University to promote hemp education.
Topics will include the endocannabinoid system, extraction, genetics, outdoor cultivation, indoor cultivation, hemp processing, food science, and the economics of hemp production.
At the beginning of each event, the experts will spend roughly 30 to 40 minutes discussing their topic before opening a Q&A session with the participants. The goal is to address solutions for agricultural challenges that affect all Americans.
“This hemp seminar series is designed to increase the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of ARS’ mission while providing hemp-specific education, training, and networking opportunities to historically underserved communities,” Zachary Stansell, USDA’s acting hemp curator, said in a press release.
Additionally, the USDA has improved insurance policies for hemp businesses. The changes align hemp insurance policies with other crops since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the plant. For example, hemp farmers can qualify for Multi-Peril Crop Insurance.
Last year, in partnership with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky, the department got permission from the White House to conduct a survey.
The study polled about 20 thousand hemp farmers, asking about their plans for acreage for operations, primary and secondary crop use, outdoor hemp production, and what kinds of prices producers can bring in. The questionnaire also lists extracts like CBD, smokeable hemp, fiber, seeds, and grain for human consumption.
The department is anticipating distributing a separate national survey to garner insights from hemp businesses that could help inform its approach to regulating the industry. The department wants to learn about “current production costs, production practices, and marketing practices.”
The USDA is gathering information to inform its regulatory approach further. Industry stakeholders, and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, say it’s a positive step forward that will provide businesses with needed guidance.
Still, they’ve also highlighted several policies that they hope to revise as the market matures, such as USDA’s hemp testing requirements.
USDA will be teaming up with a chemical manufacturing company on a two-year project that could greatly expand the hemp-based cosmetics market. Hemp-infused cosmetics might require specialized tamper-evident containers.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it is sponsoring a project to develop hemp fiber insulation which would be better for the environment and public health than conventional preparations.