In a notice published in the Federal Register on Thursday, July 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) submitted a request to launch an annual “Hemp Acreage and Production Survey.” The USDA is soliciting public comments on whether the effort would be useful and how to most effectively administer it to minimize the burden on respondents.
The notice explains that cannabis containing no more than 0.3 percent THC is federally legalized and hemp is “a commodity that can be used for numerous industrial and horticultural purposes including fabric, paper, construction materials, food products, cosmetics, production of cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol or CBD), and other products.” Hemp can also be used for sustainable packaging.
Hemp businesses, including farms, would be involved in the survey. It also estimates that the collective time that would be taken to complete the surveys would be 7,531 hours.
The USDA is interested in gathering information to further inform its regulatory approach. Industry stakeholders have pointed to a number of policies that they hope to revise as the market matures such as USDA’s hemp testing requirements.
The federal Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy expressed a similar sentiment in a blog post in February, writing that it is “pleased with some of the changes that [USDA] has made to the rule, as they offer more certainty and are less burdensome to small farmers,” but “some concerns remained unaddressed in the final rule.”