States Promote Federal Hemp Survey Being Mailed Out This Week To More Than 20,000 Farmers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is officially beginning a nationwide survey of hemp producers this week, and state officials are working to make sure farmers in their jurisdictions participate.
The survey, which USDA began mailing out on Monday, asks producers about issues such as outdoor cultivation, acreage for operations, primary and secondary uses for the crop and what kinds of prices producers are able to bring in. The questionnaire lists preparations such as smokeable hemp, extracts like CBD, grain for human consumption, fiber and seeds as areas the department is interested in learning about.
After requesting permission from the White House earlier this year to conduct the survey of 20,500 hemp farmers, the agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced in August that the forms were being finalized to be filled out via mail or online. Now, the survey is officially in the mail and the agency is accepting responses on its website.
The 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey is in the mail! The @usda_nass #hemp survey results could help inform your decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp. Check your mailboxes and respond online at https://t.co/MvrGnUX1Xt pic.twitter.com/UUSoM79ggy
— National Agricultural Statistics Service (@usda_nass) October 18, 2021
The questionnaire also goes over whether farmers are hand-trimming the hemp they produce, if they plan to extract cannabinoids or terpenes from the crop, what kind of yields they’ve harvested and how they obtain the seeds and clones they use.
Check your mailboxes Maryland hemp growers!📬
The @usda_nass has sent out the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey. Responses could help inform your decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp.
💻Once your letter is received, respond online: https://t.co/xDaW3YjSRO pic.twitter.com/rZmy8RBK0S
— Maryland Department of Agriculture (@MdAgDept) October 18, 2021
Meanwhile, state agriculture departments across the country are encouraging local farmers to take part, and for good reason. The more respondents in each state, the bigger its hemp market will look and there will be more data will be available to analyze its needs. States with a lot of active hemp farmers may be seen as more attractive to investors in the industry and to ancillary businesses that serve producers of the crop. There may also be a greater likelihood that federal officials will see that state as a promising market for hemp—likely increasing the chances that businesses that are located there will win grants or other assistance.
Already, agriculture departments from states like Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Washington State have made social media posts calling attention to the survey.
The hemp survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production and value of hemp in the United States #TexasAgricultureMatters https://t.co/JAkD36r87w
— Texas Agriculture (@TexasDeptofAg) October 14, 2021
This October, USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) will mail its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey, which will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of hemp in the US. https://t.co/pq8pMQuORh pic.twitter.com/3gZ6aQH6q7
— VDACS (@VaAgriculture) October 7, 2021
“This inaugural hemp survey will establish a necessary benchmark and provide critically-needed data for the hemp industry,” said Kevin Barnes, acting administrator of USDA’s NASS, said in a press release. “The information collected can help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce. The resulting data will also foster greater understanding of the hemp production landscape across regulatory agencies, producers, state and Tribal governments, processors, and other key industry entities.”
(2/2) Producers may complete the survey online at https://t.co/RMhgJhFA2e or they may complete and return the survey by mail using the return envelope provided. Frequently Asked Questions about this inaugural survey are now available at https://t.co/VeM1u8WZQ7.
— NM Department of Ag (@NMDeptAg) October 18, 2021
Responses need to be submitted online or mailed back by October 25, and the department plans to publish the results on February 17 of next year.
Today @usda_nass will send its first #Hemp Acreage & Production Survey to MN producers. The hemp survey will collect info on total planted & harvested area, yield, production, & value of hemp. Recipients are asked to respond by 10/25. More info at: https://t.co/NSRjSw2vVx #MNAg pic.twitter.com/c4sf3riaH1
— MN Agriculture Dept (@MNagriculture) October 18, 2021
On Oct. 18, the @USDA National Ag Stats Service is launching a new survey to look at hemp production in the US! The survey will look at total planted & harvested area, yield, production & value of hemp in our country. Learn more below! #NCAgriculture https://t.co/b2KYE13oOk pic.twitter.com/3PvVpWrd3i
— NCDA&CS (@NCAgriculture) October 6, 2021
USDA initially published a notice about its intent to secure White House permission to conduct the survey in February.
Last year, USDA announced plans to distribute a separate national survey to gain insights from thousands of hemp businesses that could inform its approach to regulating the industry.
That survey is being completed in partnership with National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky. The department said it wanted to learn about “current production costs, production practices, and marketing practices” for hemp.
On Oct. 18, USDA’s @usda_nass will be sending its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey to SD producers. The hemp survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of hemp in the U.S.
For more info: https://t.co/RZ2HyP2veZ
— SD DANR (@SD_DANR) October 15, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions for @usda_nass's 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey are now available. Beginning Oct. 18, the survey will collect info on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of #hemp in the United States. https://t.co/OY202xpBdM pic.twitter.com/LpAb9lwJ1k
— Oregon Dept. of Ag (@ORagriculture) September 7, 2021
Hemp was federally legalized via the 2018 Farm Bill.
There’s still much to learn about the burgeoning market, even as USDA continues to approve state regulatory plans for the crop. Most recently, the agency approved a hemp plan submitted by Colorado, where officials have consistently insisted that the state intends to be a leader in the space.
While USDA’s final rule for hemp took effect on March 22, the agency is evidently still interested in gathering information to further inform its regulatory approach going forward. Industry stakeholders say the release of the final rule is a positive step forward that will provide businesses with needed guidance, but they’ve also pointed to a number of policies that they hope to revise as the market matures such as USDA’s hemp testing requirements.
@USDA is conducting the first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey. Starting TODAY, #hemp growers can log in and complete the survey online, using the survey code received in the mail. https://t.co/dmWIZXyzPq pic.twitter.com/cmoAKrbE4B
— Washington State Department of Agriculture (@WSDAgov) October 18, 2021
The federal Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy expressed a similar sentiment in a blog post in February, writing that it is “pleased with some of the changes that [USDA] has made to the rule, as they offer more certainty and are less burdensome to small farmers,” but “some concerns remained unaddressed in the final rule.”
USDA announced in April that it is teaming up with a chemical manufacturing company on a two-year project that could significantly expand the hemp-based cosmetics market.
Last month, USDA said it is teaming up with university researchers to figure out the best ways to keep weeds out of hemp fields.
Meanwhile, members of Congress continue to work on further changes to federal hemp policy.
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Photo courtesy of Brendan Cleak.