NASHVILLE– Tennesseans interested in growing industrial hemp in 2019 have 10 days remaining to submit required applications. The deadline to apply for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) industrial hemp grower license is 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2019.
Federal and state laws require Tennessee industrial hemp growers be licensed through TDA’s industrial hemp program. While the 2018 Farm Bill removes industrial hemp from the list of federal controlled substances, it remains illegal to grow hemp without a license through an approved state program.
“We want to be a resource for Tennessee farmers interested in growing industrial hemp,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Just like with other agricultural enterprises, industrial hemp farmers will benefit from exercising due diligence and doing their research before they plant. Producers will be much more likely to find success with this alternative crop if they identify a market and do their homework now.”
Tennessee producers applying to grow hemp are encouraged to thoroughly plan their markets, finances, and production methods. Tools to assist with this planning, including program reports from previous years and a list of licensed hemp processors, can be found at www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/hemp-industry.html.
Applicants wishing to participate in the program must submit an application, license fees, and required documentation, including a signed memorandum of understanding.
With ten days remaining in the 2019 application period, TDA has received more than 1,000 grower applications to cultivate up to 4,251 acres of industrial hemp.In 2018, TDA approved 226 industrial hemp applications from producers who were licensed to cultivate up to 4,767 acres.
The Tennessee General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 916 in 2014 tasking the department with development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee. You will find the industrial hemp grower application and more information about Tennessee’s hemp program at www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/hemp-industry.html.