Advocacy for a Thriving Hemp Industry

House Agriculture Committee Chair, Congressman Glenn 'GT' Thompson, NHA Chair, Geoff Whaling, NHA Executive Director, Erica Stark and PA Department of Agriculture Secretary, Russell Redding

On August 7th at the Central PA Institute of Science and Technology, the National Hemp Association (NHA) and PA Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding met with Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Chair of the House Agricultural Committee.

The focal point of this meeting was the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 (H.R. 3755 & S.980) and its potential integration into the forthcoming Farm Bill. This periodic legislation is the bedrock of U.S. agricultural and food policy, significantly shaping farming practices, rural development, and nutrition programs.

The goal of this meeting was to ensure the inclusion of the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 in the Farm Bill’s base text. The Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 seeks to create a clear distinction and separate regulations for industrial hemp fiber and grain from cannabinoid or flower hemp. While maintaining the existing regulatory framework for cannabinoid hemp production, these bills provide a new framework specific to industrial hemp. This bifurcation reduces burdens on farmers, provides clarity for investors and promoting economic development in rural America.

While affirming his support for the Industrial Hemp Act, Thompson stressed the importance of securing as much member support as possible. He outlined a tight timeline, aiming to finalize the base text by the end of August and completing markup and House passage by the end of September.

Urgent Advocacy and Unified Endeavors

The time sensitive nature of the task at hand is evident and requires swift and strategic action.  NHA implores all industry stakeholders and supporters to actively participate in advocacy efforts. By utilizing our advocacy platform you can efficiently reach out to elected officials, contributing to the momentum required to advance this vital legislation.

Enhanced Vision: Expanding Hemp’s Presence in the Farm Bill

In addition to the Industrial Hemp Act, the meeting spotlighted broader asks for hemp within the Farm Bill. One significant request is the approval of hemp grain as animal feed for pets, exotic pets, horses, ornamental fish, camelids, and other non-production animals.

We also want to see the much needed ‘Whole of Government Approach’ and well as the development of the legislation to create the regulatory authority that FDA needs in order to provide a fully lawful path forward for cannabinoid products.

Furthermore, the NHA proposes allocating funds in Title II to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for purchasing domestically grown hemp grain. This step supports U.S. hemp farmers while contributing to global food security efforts.

An Expedited Path Forward

While a contingency plan for the Industrial Hemp Act exists, the preferred route is its direct integration into the Farm Bill’s base text.

The collective push to secure the Industrial Hemp Act’s inclusion reflects a broader movement. Stakeholders are rallying to empower American farmers, encourage innovation, and champion sustainable practices. But we still need you to make it happen! Use the platform to send an email or better yet, also use it to get the contact infomation you need to call your Congressperson to ask for their support or request a meeting.

Together we can get this done!