USDA Approves Georgia's Hemp Plan

Licensing has started for Georgia hemp farmers and processors interested in participating in the upcoming growing season.

April 2, 2020

Georgians will soon be planting hemp in the ground.

The state is one of the latest to receive approval for its hemp program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is also one of 14 states so far that has formulated a new hemp plan as opposed to sticking with a pilot program that adheres to rules set forth by the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). 

Georgia farmers weren’t allowed to begin planting hemp until last year, when the state passed the Hemp Farming Act, but even then cultivation was only allowed for research purposes. 

The USDA’s passage of Georgia’s hemp plan hinged on whether the state could secure the funding it needed to carry out enforcement. But Georgia’s legislature recently approved $200,000 to regulate the program for this year and proposed additional funding for next year, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The state recently began accepting applications online. So far, 173 farming applications and nine processor applications have been submitted, the state’s department of agriculture tells Hemp Grower.

TDA estimates it will take at least 20 days to approve licenses.

Farmer licenses in Georgia will cost $50 per acre annually, up to $5,000, while processors will have to pay an initial $25,000 plus $10,000 annually.

Update By The States

Time is ticking for states to have their hemp plans approved in time for the upcoming growing season. So far, in addition to the 14 states with new USDA-approved plans, 18 have renewed their pilot programs and one—Rhode Island—is allowing the federal government to administer licenses. Meanwhile, 12 other states are pursuing approval from the USDA. 

Hemp is now illegal in just two states: Mississippi and Idaho. South Dakota, which recently legalized hemp cultivation, will be working to submit its plan in the coming weeks.