THE Green Light

Central Florida Ag NewsMay 2020

THE Green Light
USDA’s Blessing Sets Florida Hemp Program Into Action
TIM CRAIG

AS THE USDA FORMALLY APPROVED Florida’s state hemp program, the path to begin cultivating the alternative crop is turning green, particularly for one company that was there at the beginning and now has a sizable footprint in Central Florida.

The USDA approved Florida’s hemp program April 16 and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services began accepting applications to grow industrial hemp April 27.

Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried thanked the USDA for its swift review and credited the months of gathering feedback from the public, growers and other industry stakeholders.

“By working closely with our farmers, processor, retailers and consumers, Florida’s state hemp program will become a model for the nation, set a gold standard for this emerging industry and create billions in economic opportunity for Florida,” she said in a statement. “As our economy deals with the impacts of COVID-19, this approval will give our agriculture industry a new alternative crop for many years to come.”

Fried, who will oversee the hemp program, has consistently championed the emerging industry — from appointing the state’s first-ever cannabis director in 2019 to hosting five workshops and public hearings across the state to develop the approved hemp program.

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May 2020