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Certified Organic Hemp in Massachusetts

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2019 March Issue Newsletter

By Doug Cook, NOFA/Mass Education Events Coordinator

New NOFA/Mass educational event just added- Growing Hemp in Massachusetts

April 6, 2019 - 9:45am to 4pm
American Legion Dudley-Gendron Post
156 Boston Rd
Sutton, MA

Baystate Organic Certifiers has recently announced online that they “will start accepting hemp crop and handling applications immediately”.  In an interview with Don Franczyk, Executive Director of Baystate Organic Certifiers, he mentioned that for farmers with current Organic Certification and MDAR licensing, adding hemp to your list of crops is just as easy as any other crop.  

There are multiple benefits to growing hemp. It has a variety of uses, it can reduce water consumption and possibly sequester carbon at a large scale.The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources is currently licensing cultivators and processors. Strict testing is required to ensure that THC levels are below the U.S. FDA mandated .3% threshold. Anything over that limit will be classified as illegal and consequently destroyed. The Department does not have any involvement in the designation of property as agricultural or horticultural land under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 61A. Please review the applicable sections of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 61A and contact your local tax assessor with any questions related to the tax designation of your property. The Department is excited about the opportunities that hemp production may provide.  Should you have any questions please contact the Department’s Hemp Program or visit their website:  Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Hemp Program.

There are multiple benefits to growing hemp. It has a variety of uses, it can reduce water consumption and possibly sequester carbon at a large scale.  Cultivation practices vary depending on the crop, essentially hemp can be grown for food (from seeds), rope and fiber (created from its stalk) or medicine (from oil pressed from its flowers).  The most profitable of these and potentially difficult to produce and regulate is CBD oil.  The U.S. FDA is responsible for creating new regulations and we expect to see them rolled out over the next several years.  Currently many areas of the industry are working to catch the rising wave of hemp. The demand for hemp seed and transplants is high and specialized varieties are currently being developed for specific low THC and high CBD strains.

In our effort to help growers learn as much about hemp and the regulations in MA, we are offering another seminar, Growing Hemp in Massachusetts, on April 6th, from 9:45am to 4pm, at the American Legion Dudley-Gendron Post in Sutton, MA.  Brenden Beer, a northern Vermont hemp farmer currently with eight acres in hemp production will give detailed presentations on hemp agronomy and farm-scale CBD oil extraction. Taryn Lascola, Director of Crops and Pest Services for MDAR, will provide a thorough overview of the regulations around hemp production in Massachusetts including what farmers need to know to prepare their farms to grow this crop.  

Reserve your space for this highly educational event here.


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