Industrial Hemp Harvest Season Reminders for Michigan Growers
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division is reminding hemp growers about the following information and respond to some commonly asked questions.
Grower registration: The registration cycle is February 1 – January 31. Previously, it matched the processor-handler license cycle but was updated to better accommodate industry practices. As such, grower registrations issued for the 2021 season will be valid until January 31, 2022. You will not be issued an updated certificate. Expect to see renewal notices in the mail this December.
Processor-handler license: There is no change to the license cycle of December 1 to November 30, and renewal notices have been mailed. Contact 517-256-7509 if you did not receive a hemp processor-handler renewal application. If you are a new applicant, initial applications can be found online.
Did you get your crop acreage report filed with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)? If you haven’t, you are required to work with your local FSA office to file a crop acreage report and obtain your completed FSA-578 report. This will list your farm and tract, and possibly field and subfield (combined to form your FSA Lot ID number). This requirement applies to both outdoor and indoor growers. MDARD will still sample your crop this year for compliance prior to harvest regardless of FSA reporting status.
How do I submit a request for preharvest sampling? File your preharvest sampling request online here. More information about the sampling process can be found here.
How many samples will be collected by MDARD? The minimum number of cuttings depends on the acreage planted and the size of floral material. MDARD needs to collect enough plant material to have a minimum dry quantity needed for testing. One cutting is collected per plant, from the top third of the plant. For lot sizes 0 to 20 acres, including greenhouses, MDARD adds a minimum of five cuttings to USDA’s sample size. For 21-100 acres, 30 cuttings will be collected, and an additional 10 cuttings will be collected per 100 acres. The table below summarizes the minimum number of cuttings collected for official regulatory samples:
When do I get results, and how do I read them? MDARD’s Geagley Laboratory will email your results to the email address provided by the grower at the time of the sampling inspection. Results are generally emailed in five business days but could take 8-10 days. How to read results is described here.
What does “30 days to harvest” mean? After MDARD collects an official regulatory pre-harvest sample, the grower has 30 days to harvest the crop. This was originally 15 days per USDA’s Interim Final Rule but adjusted in the Final Rule. Michigan’s law reflects this change. Most growers wait until they receive their emailed lab results before harvesting. If you do not wait, ensure you label and separate each harvested lot in case any lots are identified as non-compliant. “Harvesting” means terminating the cultivation process, including taking cuttings for purposes other than sample analysis. Harvesting does not include drying and storing – those activities can take place beyond the 30 days.
If I planted hemp, do I have to harvest it? MDARD has received questions on what to do with diseased or poor-performing crops and if the crop can be left to decompose in the field. The department must collect an official regulatory sample for THC testing prior to a crop being harvested. If you do not intend to harvest the crop, preharvest sampling is not required; but that means you will need to dispose of the crop by making it non-ingestible and non-retrievable. Right now, you do not need to submit a Notice of Intent to Dispose when it’s due to poor health, disease, weather-related issues, lack of labor to harvest, eliminating male or hermaphrodite plants, or similar reasons when harvesting won’t happen. But, maintain a disposal record listing the date of disposal, method of disposal, total acreage or square footage disposed of reason for disposal, and photographic or video evidence showing disposal.
At the end of the season, growers will be required to report acreage/square footage of hemp disposed of, so maintaining this record will assist you in accurate reporting.
What does “remediation” mean? The term remediation is used differently in federal and state hemp laws than what hemp growers and processors are typically familiar with. In the industry, remediation generally refers to bringing THC levels into compliance in the lab. Remediation, with respect to hemp laws, specifically refers to in-field options for non-compliant lots (disposal is the other approved route to manage a noncompliant lot). USDA is very strict about remediation options, because at the federal level, growers are now dealing with a federally illegal crop – marijuana. As such, USDA’s work with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency resulted in two remediation options:
Option #1. Flower separation and disposal.
Separation and disposal of all flowers while retaining stalks, leaves, and seeds. All parts of floral material, including buds, trim, and kief, must be disposed of. The grower must notify MDARDprior to remediation and flower disposal, and then the department will sample the remaining stalks/leaves/seeds and witness the disposal.
Option #2. Biomass creation and sampling.
Shredding the ENTIRE hemp plant to create a homogenous biomass which must be sampled by MDARD. All flowers, buds, trichomes, leaves, stalks, seed, and all plant parts from a lot should be chopped or shredded in such a way as to create a homogenous, uniform blend of the lot. Methods may include, but are not limited to, shredding of the hemp plants through shredders, composters, or specialty mechanical equipment. The grower must notify the department that remediation sampling of the biomass is needed.
Full remediation details can be found here, and a chart showing both options and deadlines can be found here. Disposal details can be found here.