USDA Announces the Availability of Hemp Crop Insurance

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | August 29, 2019

In a News Release published on August 27, 2019, the Risk Management Agency (“RMA”) of the United States Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”) announced that certain hemp growers and producers will be eligible for hemp crop insurance coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (“WFRP”) program.

The enactment of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill deregulated hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) by amending the CSA to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana. We previously reported that the USDA’s decontrolling of hemp as a controlled substance under the CSA is self-executing. This amendment therefore opened the door for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to develop policies for the hemp industry.

The WFRP is a popular program for specialty, organic and non-traditional farm-grown crops and provides “coverage of all revenue produced on a farm up to a total insured revenue of $8.5 million.” Certain hemp growers will be eligible to obtain coverage under the WFRP program for the 2020 growing season. Coverage for hemp grown for fiber, flower and seeds will be available to hemp producers under a USDA-approved hemp plan or state or university approved pilot program that meet certain requirements. Producers operating under an approved 2014 Federal Farm Bill pilot program are currently eligible for certain loans under the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (“FSA”) and certain conservation programs under the Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”). Other producers that plan to operate under the authority of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill will not be eligible until USDA plans are approved.

To be eligible for hemp crop insurance, hemp producers must comply with applicable state, tribal or federal regulations for hemp production, and be contracted to purchase insured hemp. Hemp that tests above the federally allowed .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) limit and replant payments for hemp crops are excluded from coverage under this program.

RMA plans to publish additional information for approved insurance providers in a bulletin on August 30, 2019. When the USDA completes its rule-making process for both a USDA plan and USDA approval of state and tribal plans, the FSA, NRCS and RMA will publish their respective program eligibility information. Additional information on WFRP hemp crop insurance coverage can be found on the USDA’s Farmers.gov Hemp and Farm Bill Programs webpage, RMA's Hemp Production webpage, or by emailing questions to farmbill.hemp@usda.gov.

For more information about the Georgia Hemp Industry or Tennessee Hemp Industry, contact Miller & Martin attorney Stephanie Savage.

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