In a significant step towards approval. The FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine’s recommended the approval of Hemp Seed Meal (HSM) for laying hens to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and they will vote on it at their Mid-Year Meeting.

Hemp Seed Meal serves as an excellent source of protein and fat for laying hens. The proposal for a new feed ingredient definition, championed by the Hemp Feed Coalition, navigated through rigorous evaluations and correspondence with FDA and paved the way for its approval.

The nutritional profile of Hemp Seed Meal is remarkable, containing essential vitamins, minerals, healthy oils, and a complete protein profile akin to traditional feed sources like soy and canola. Notably, hemp-fed hens produce eggs enriched with essential fatty acids and nutrients beneficial for human health, showcasing the multifaceted benefits of hemp seed as a feed ingredient.

For farmers, the approval of Hemp Seed Meal will mitigate risks associated with market uncertainty, offering a viable alternative for crop rotations and enhancing farm flexibility.

The safety and nutritional efficacy of Hemp Seed Meal has been validated through FDA-CVM’s evaluation process, providing assurance to formulators and feed mills. With this approval, feed producers will be allowed to incorporate Hemp Seed Meal into laying hen diets, enhancing nutrition and egg quality while driving efficiency across feed supply chains.

Looking ahead, the Hemp Feed Coalition remains committed to supporting the integration of hemp grain products into feed across various species. By collaborating with feed producers and providing resources to farmers, the HFC aims to optimize agricultural practices, foster sustainability, and unlock the full potential of hemp in animal nutrition.

However this milestone is just the beginning of a broader movement towards integrating hemp products into various aspects of animal nutrition and beyond.

The fact that it took more than three years to accomplish underscores the complexities, regulatory hurdles and significant expense involved in introducing feed ingredient applications, especially those derived from non-traditional sources like hemp. Despite the challenges, the perseverance of the Hemp Feed Coalition and their success in securing this approval  sets a precedent for future advancements in animal feed applications.

Expanding the authorization of hemp seed products for a wider range of animals beyond laying hens is a logical next step in harnessing the full potential of this versatile crop. Advocating for FDA and state-level approvals for hemp seed based feed ingredients for pets, specialty pets, and other non-production animals is essential for promoting agricultural diversity and supporting sustainable practices across various sectors.

The historical context of hemp’s prohibition has influenced its regulatory state. If hemp had not been banned during the emergence of new ingredient applications, it likely would have been grandfathered in, akin to conventional crops like corn and wheat.

As we celebrate the pending approval of Hemp Seed Meal for laying hems we must maintain momentum and advocate for inclusive policies that facilitate the integration of hemp and other sustainable alternatives into animal nutrition. By continuing to champion research, collaboration, and regulatory reform, we can pave the way for a more resilient, diverse, and environmentally conscious agricultural future.