Hemp Checkoff Program on the Horizon

Brian GermanField & Row Crops, Industry

Industry groups are working together in an attempt to establish a hemp checkoff program. The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) recently announced a partnership to spearhead an effort to create a marketing checkoff program for the hemp industry. After the production of hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, there has been tremendous interest in growing the crop.

Hemp Checkoff Program

“Today is another step forward in the right direction for hemp farmers and consumers of hemp-related products,” NIHC Board Chairman Patrick Atagi said in a news release. “A checkoff program further legitimizes a rapidly growing industry and will help hemp farmers compete on a level playing field with producers of other agricultural-related commodities.”

Projections from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that hemp sales are expected to increase by $25.5 million this year.  Sales are again projected to increase to $64.5 million next year, with sales projected to reach more than $100 million in 2022.  The two groups anticipate establishing a work group to evaluate the process for creating a hemp checkoff program, taking input from industry members from throughout the sector.

“The HIA continues to focus on building the hemp economy and bringing industries together, beginning with hemp farming,” said HIA President Rick Trojan. “This first-of-its-kind agreement with NIHC creates a focus on gathering data and distributing education as hemp cultivation expands nationally. It’s through these types of collaborations that we learn together and establish a solid foundation for hemp today, and over the next decade.”

The working group will help to determine how a hemp checkoff program would be structured and submit a proposal to USDA that includes an industry analysis, justification for the creation of a checkoff program, and the impact it would have on small businesses. A report from Texas A&M found that checkoff programs can have a return on investment for producers of up to 17-1 for every dollar that is invested in a checkoff program. 

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West