The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) are looking into establishing a hemp checkoff program. A survey conducted by the two groups shows there is industry support behind developing a checkoff. During an online media event, NIHC Board Chairman Patrick Atagi said they were pleased with the results of the survey.
“The hemp industry really needs a checkoff. The results we’re seeing and sharing with you today say that the industry overall agrees with that also. We’re in so many different areas and fields that the more we work together, the better,” said Atagi. “over half of those surveyed agreed on the need for a self-assessed fee to fund a national hemp checkoff program.”
The survey was conducted between November and December of last year and received nearly 300 responses from industry members. Respondents were largely supportive of the need for more research, promotion, and consumer education in relation to hemp. Outreach efforts within the industry will continue to help frame what a potential hemp checkoff would entail.
TASK FORCE TO ASSESS POTENTIAL OF A CHECKOFF
Significant research will need to take place before a hemp checkoff proposal can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A task force is being assembled to help the development of a proposal that includes industry analysis and program objectives. The task force will be made up of representatives from across the hemp industry. NIHC Board Member John Johnson said work is underway to compile a diverse and knowledgeable group for the task force.
“We want representation of every major segment of our industry, whether its fiber, grain, oil, what have you. And we want representation geographically…We want small farmers, medium-sized, large farmers. We want diversity of scale,” said Johnson. “Ideally it would be nice if we could get this task force pulled together by the end of March to begin work on it.”