June 13, 2023
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that hemp now will be included in of one of its Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs), showing the agency recognizes the crop’s importance as a commodity.
In an official document posted on June 8, the agency said The Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the US Trade Representative (Trade Representative or USTR), is renewing the APAC (Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee), as well as six ATACs (Agriculture Tech Advisory Committees). These include:
Animals and Animal Products
Fruits and Vegetables
Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds
Sweeteners and Sweetener Products
Tobacco, Cotton, Peanuts, and Hemp (the newly revised title)
Adding hemp to the ATAC allows hemp to be recognized as a specialized crop. One industry member was already added to the committee prior this announcement. Patrick Atagi, president and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), was appointed to the advisory committee in 2021.
The announcement went on to say that: The purpose of the committees, which are jointly appointed by USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), is to “provide detailed policy and technical advice, information, and recommendations regarding trade barriers, negotiation of trade agreements, and implementation of existing trade agreements affecting food and agricultural products, including the performance of other advisory functions relevant to U.S. agricultural trade policy matters."
This comes ahead of the 2023 Farm Bill, where the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a congressional hearing to see how this next Farm Bill could improve hemp production.
In this hearing, the need for clear regulations around CBD (the active ingredient in cannabis derived from hemp plants) and for stronger supply chain processing were highlighted, alongside further opportunities for hemp-derived products within climate markets.
About every 5 years the Farm Bill comes before Congress. The 2018 Farm Bill will expire on September 30, 2023.
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