The Missouri Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced federal approval of the state's Industrial Hemp Plan, which sets the regulatory framework through the 2021 growing season and provides the department with primary oversight of industrial hemp production in the state.

With the approval, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service affirmed that Missouri’s plan complies with federal law and regulations.

“This approval is a testament to the hard work our team has put in to open up a new regulatory framework for growers looking to diversify their operations,” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “We’ve worked hard to incorporate feedback from growers, industry stakeholders and federal partners over the last several months. We hope that this is the certainty that many in the emerging industry have been looking for.”

The approval of Missouri’s Industrial Hemp Plan was made by USDA with no required changes to existing state regulation. As a result, Missouri’s industrial hemp producers will continue operations under the existing regulatory framework.

This is the first year that Missouri producers may legally grow industrial hemp within the state. Data from the inaugural 2020 growing season shows 197 Registered Producers, and 75 Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permit Holders. In total, Missouri growers have indicated 3,696 acres of planned growth for the first year. A hallmark of the state’s Industrial Hemp Plan was a pathway for producers to hire third-party certified samplers to collect compliance samples prior to harvest. In 2020, the state has trained and certified 63 industrial hemp samplers.

Since the federal legalization of industrial hemp growth for research purposes in 2014, interested producers in Missouri have seen multiple changes to state and federal laws and regulations. The Department urges producers to anticipate further changes in laws and regulations over the next several years as USDA and all 50 states work to establish final guidelines for the crop.

To learn more about the Missouri Industrial Hemp program, please visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov. Producers may also sign up for email updates related to the Missouri Industrial Hemp Program by clicking here.