2024 started off with a bang for us at the IHGA this month with new proposed rules for the Illinois hemp program, events, and a flurry of exciting news in the hemp space - feed for laying hens, hemp batteries, higher THC limits and more is on the horizon this year.
If you missed these big stories circulating the community over the last few weeks take a minute to check them out here:
"FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine and Association of American Feed Control Officials are on their way to approving hemp seeds for hens at egg farms."
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Conducts Hemp Survey
The latest updates to the Illinois Hemp Program rules were published in the IL Register the day after Christmas on 12/26 and are a breath of fresh air after a long wait.
There are a few new and refined definitions and loose ends in the process for applying for a license have been tied up. A revamped inspection and testing section makes protocols a lot clearer. One new section gives government research projects a break on some of the red tape, another pulls hemp microgreens off the hook for THC testing, which is a pretty awesome win for local foodies (and was one of our recommendations!)
These proposed rules also make it easier for folks to get compliance tests redone if needed, set up a straightforward $100 fee for research licenses, and clear up how you can move hemp around. All in all, licensed cultivation and compliance will be little more strict with FSA officially in mix now but everything else in the life of a licensed cultivator will stay the same. Things will also stay the same as far as end products go until the day when/if:
the Farm Bill is updated and
USDA publishes new rules for states to comply with based on the updates
then Illinois will have to publish new proposed rules again and you will have plenty of notice from us if there are any showstopping changes.
You can check out the proposed changes in full detail here.
Another public hearing is scheduled for March 13th at the John R. Block Auditorium in Springfield. This comment period in the JCAR process facilitates feedback, transparency, rule refinement, and consensus building, ensuring the proposed regulations are well-informed and broadly supported. If you are a stakeholder wishing to express support, concerns, or suggestions for modifications plan to be in attendance that day.
Rachel has been on the road this month, too. First, she made her way to Rutgers University to dive into the nuts and bolts of the hemp fiber and grain market at the Rutgers Hemp Symposium. It was a well rounded meeting of the minds, featuring big names in hemp like Morris Beegle, Joy Beckerman, Cameron McIntosh, Andrew Bish, and New Jersey Hemp Program Manager John Kerr. You can check out (most of) the presentations here!
With fresh insights in mind, she headed to the IL Farm Bureau's Everything Local Conference in Springfield the following week. There, she shared tips with local farmers via some Hemp 101 and Q+A time, focusing on the ins and outs of the Illinois industry. Rachel was also invited to attend a meeting held during the conference for women leaders in AG with IL Farm Bureau and Lt. Governor Stratton. It was an energizing discussion and great opportunity to share about the future of hemp in IL with esteemed audiences.
These gatherings provided more than industry insights, research results, and best practices – they were prime spots for connecting with fellow farmers and hemp enthusiasts and reinforcing our community bonds. Staying in touch and united is key in the hemp world, and it's been awesome to see our network grow and our industry flourish.
On a somber note, we were deeply saddened to hear news of the passing of Phil Montgomery, a cherished friend, loyal member of the IHGA, and dedicated hemp farmer in Illinois. Phil was a pillar in the hemp community, a passionate advocate, and a trail-blazing business owner at AM and PM Hemp Farms. His warm presence and wise counsel will be profoundly missed and his legacy will continue to inspire and guide us in our ongoing efforts to grow and develop the hemp industry. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time, especially his wife Amanda. Phil's memory will always hold a special place in the heart of the IHGA and the broader hemp community.
Read Phil's obituary here: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/daily-chronicle/name/phillip-montgomery-obituary?id=54055572
We want to wrap up this month in review with some links to stay up to date with some educational content, a few Save the Dates, and some laughs. We will be looking forward to providing more updates and insights for the hemp community next month!
Get registered for Cornell University's 2024 Hemp Webinar Series, Jan 24- May 1:
We will be participating in Soil Health Week again this year, more info in to coming weeks.
Look for us at the 2024 IDOA Hemp Summit in March and stay tuned for details about our afterparty!
Check out this discussion between IHGA Sponsor Jeremy Klettke of Davis Hemp Farms and Steve Philpott Jr., USMC Vet, Researcher, + Educator:
And finally, a good laugh from our friends at the Cole Memo.
Shout out to our Sponsors: