Hemp Cultivation Applications Begin April 27

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

On April 6, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed its hemp cultivation rule for adoption, with the rule slated to become effective April 27. “FDACS will start accepting applications for cultivation on Monday, April 27, 2020, via FDACS.gov,” the agency announced.

According to FDACS, it will not issue permits until it has U.S. Department of Agriculture approval for the Florida Hemp Plan. “Our plan has been submitted for approval, which we anticipate any day,” FDACS announced April 13.

A draft copy of the cultivation rule indicated that each applicant must submit a full set of fingerprints. The applicant must also verify that he or she has not been convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance within the past 10 years. The draft copy also asks the applicant to list the intended marketable part of the plant – seed, fiber or oil.

Jeff Greene, director of business development at the Florida Hemp Council, expects many to apply to cultivate the new crop in Florida. He said more than 1,500 farmers put their information on the FDACS website, expressing their interest in growing the crop.

“I know that we’ve got in the Florida Hemp Council over 800 that have expressed interest,” Greene said. “The first year of any hemp program is going to be predominantly around low-acreage experimentation. Then as we’ve seen with Kentucky and a lot of the other states (growing hemp), it ramps up. It’s just like any other crop. You’ve got to get used to how to grow it.”

Greene said growers of many commodities are interested in hemp production. “We’ve got tomato farmers in Homestead, Florida,” he said. “The sugar industry is looking at it. The citrus industry is looking at it. The tree farmers up in the Panhandle are looking at it. Everybody’s looking at it.”

See more of Greene’s comments here.

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Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large