Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hemp farming applications being accepted through March 31

Staff Report //February 3, 2020//

Hemp farming applications being accepted through March 31

Staff Report //February 3, 2020//

Listen to this article

Applications are now being accepted for farmers and processors interested in participating in the S.C. Department of Agriculture hemp program for the 2020 growing season.

This is the third year of the state hemp farming program, which began with 20 permitted farmers in 2018 and grew to 114 farmers and 43 processors at the end of the 2019 season.

In 2020, there is no cap on the number of permits the SCDA can issue, and no limit on the acreage under cultivation, according a news release from the state agricultural department.

In a change from previous years, the department will no longer allow “responsible parties” to grow hemp under another farmer’s permit. Each person wanting to farm hemp must apply for a permit.

Requirements for a hemp farming permit include: proof of state residency, passing a criminal background check, a $100 nonrefundable application fee and a $1,000 permit fee. Applicants must also provide GPS coordinates of all locations where hemp will be grown, attend an orientation and sign a hemp farming agreement.

Hemp processors must also be licensed.

This is the first year that the SCDA is licensing hemp handlers, which includes transporters, seed dealers, laboratories and other organizations handling hemp. That license includes separate permit fees, facility requirements and inspections.

Farming applications will be accepted through March 31. Processing and handling applications will remain open throughout the year.

A free hemp resource event will be held Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Phillips Market Center, located at 117 Ballard Court in West Columbia.

Currently, SCDA does not provide training, information or grants for growing or processing hemp, according to the release. Questions about hemp farming can be directed to Clemson Cooperative Extension agents.