By Emily Ledger
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is seeking White House permission to carry out a national hemp survey of around 20,000 hemp farmers across the country.
The survey, which would be an annual “Hemp Acreage and Production Survey” would collect data on growing hemp production in the US. The request was published in the Federal Register on Thursday.
While it remains unclear at this stage exactly what data would be collected through the survey, it is stated in the notice that the survey would include hemp businesses, including farms.
The cultivation of hemp was federally legalised in the US with the introduction of the so-called 2018 Farm Bill. The legislation allows the cultivation of cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3% THC, which, according to the USDA notice, makes the crop “a commodity that can be used for numerous industrial and horticultural purposes including fabric, paper, construction materials, food products, cosmetics, production of cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol or CBD), and other products.”
The notice continues: “In determining the type of data that would need to be collected and the frequency of the data collections, [USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service] management attended a joint meeting with representatives from the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the Office of the Secretary.”
This is the second survey request by the USDA for a survey of the hemp industry. According to Marijuana Moment, the USDA announced plans to “distribute a separate national survey to gain insights from thousands of hemp businesses that could inform its approach to regulating the industry.”
The initial survey would record “current production costs, production practices, and marketing practices”. However, there remains much to learn about the new and growing industry.
The latest survey request will be open to public comment until 16 August.