COLUMBIA, S.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved South Carolina’s Hemp Farming State Plan on the same day the application period ended for 2020 hemp farming permits.
Some 350 people applied to farm hemp in South Carolina this year. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is reviewing the applications and will begin contacting applicants soon. The agency will hold farmer orientations and execute Hemp Farming Program Participation Agreements remotely, with permits released by May 1, 2020.
The State Plan, authorized by the South Carolina General Assembly and the 2018 federal Farm Bill, will end an era of regulatory flux for South Carolina’s hemp industry, bringing the state’s three-year-old Hemp Farming Program into line with other states and establishing more permanent regulations.
The plan means numerous changes for the state’s Hemp Farming Program, including new lab testing methods and stricter adherence to the 0.3% THC threshold that separates hemp from marijuana. It also establishes new reporting and sampling requirements, and mandates that SCDA staff sample every hemp field in the state prior to harvest.
Although the farming permit application period has ended, SCDA is accepting permits for hemp handlers and hemp processors throughout the year. Processors who were permitted for 2019 must reapply prior to May 1, 2020.
Previously permitted farmers who do not obtain a 2020 permit will be required to destroy or sell any remaining hemp in their possession and surrender their permit by May 1, 2020.
Visit agriculture.sc.gov/hemp for information about the Hemp Farming Program.
–Eva Moore, SCDA