Industrial Hemp Production in Nebraska
The 2018 Farm Bill declassified industrial hemp as an illegal drug. However the cultivation, processing, and marketing of industrial hemp are tightly regulated under state and federal law. Under the 2019 Nebraska Hemp Farming Act, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) may license persons to cultivate, handle or process hemp under an expanded NDA hemp pilot program. Once USDA has approved a comprehensive state industrial hemp regulation program for Nebraska, NDA can issue permits for hemp cultivation, handling, processing and brokering.
Interested producers may apply to NDA by 5 p.m. Friday, June 28 for hemp cultivation licenses under the pilot program. Application forms, program information, and copies of the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act are available at nda.nebraska.gov/hemp.
The application requires detailed locational information regarding where the industrial hemp is proposed to be grown. In addition the applicant must have no felony drug charges within the last 10 years. The Nebraska Hemp Farming Act authorizes NDA to select applicants at random, suggesting that there may be more applicants than can be authorized under the pilot program. So, interested producers should not wait until the last minute to submit an application. Fees need not be submitted with the application but will ultimately be required if NDA notifies the applicant that their application has received initial approval.
Growing, handling and/or processing hemp without a signed license agreement from NDA is illegal in Nebraska.