USDA Approves Alaska’s Industrial Hemp Production Program
The Alaska Division of Agriculture has received U.S. Department of Agriculture approval of the state’s Industrial Hemp Plan (IHP). This approval, which was effective Jan. 1, 2022, means Alaska’s IHP will remain compliant with federal law as required by the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Division of Agriculture established regulations for the industrial hemp pilot program that went into effect in April 2019. The Division will now update the industrial hemp (IH) regulations for alignment as a permanent program. While the production of IH is under the jurisdiction of the USDA or an approved State Plan, Alaska also regulates the manufacturing and sale of industrial hemp products.
“Almost every legislator and the governor have supported the establishment of the hemp industry in Alaska,” Division of Agriculture Director Dave Schade said, specifically citing the support of Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer for her role in sponsoring the two bills that paved the way for marketing industrial hemp in Alaska. “The goal is diversification of Alaska’s economy with the addition of a new crop for our farmers. Industrial hemp is one crop where Alaska is not years behind the Lower 48 in development.”
Gov. Dunleavy expressed hope that industrial hemp will become a viable cash crop for growers in Alaska.
“As food security, and all of agriculture, is a high priority of my administration, I am excited to see what production and markets develop in Alaska,” Dunleavy said. “We see great opportunities in local, national and international markets.”
The production, manufacturing, and sale of all industrial hemp products require registration with the Division of Agriculture, and any persons or companies found to be operating without complying with Alaska statutes and regulations will face immediate enforcement action.