Oregon hemp growers get a break from Congress on harvest rules

Thank heaven for this extension of the 2014 Farm Bill, and I know a few farmers who are much relieved when it comes to that aspect of their harvest.

The USDA is trying to implement rules that shrink the time frame to get crops tested for THC from 28 days down to 15 days prior to harvest.

What this means is that there is the potential in those lost two weeks that the plant can produce more THC, and that more crops will potentially test hot, or higher than the 0.3% THC limits arbitrarily set by the powers that be.

In previous musings, I called for the limit to be set at 1% THC. This will allow for a non-psychoactive hemp flower to be produced, increase the diversity of genetics that are available, which will, in turn, bring higher quality products to the market.

Also of note in the article was the reduced acreage that was planted this year.

In a conversation I had with the leadership of Frogsong Farms, they didn’t even plant a crop this year, as they still had plenty of well stored biomass to pull from for the next year to extract from.

I have also had similar discussions with other large operations, in that they either reduced their crop size, or skipped planting hemp this year at all and switched to other agricultural commodities.

Myself, I am a fan of crop rotation. Simply growing a monoculture of hemp year in and year out, without a proper nutrient regeneration program, will deplete the soil of the nutrients cannabis needs to grow.

This has brought my attention to fields like biodynamics and hugelkultur, and books like, Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels. Partnering with nature with the goal of growing nutrient rich crops is a great practice, and one I try to implement in my own garden.

Other big ones remain, but an element of uncertainty about the 2020 hemp harvest in Oregon has been eliminated. A stopgap budget measure passed by Congress and signed by the president last week will allow growers to operate under current rules through the end of the harvest. Until the change, the 2014 Farm Bill that provides the framework for Oregon’s rules was due to expire on Nov. 1. That could have meant an end to a 28-day window that growers get to test their crop for THC before they harvest. Under new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules, the window is 15 days, increasing the odds of bringing in a crop that exceeds the 0.3 percent threshold that separates federally legal hemp from illegal marijuana. Growers mostly expected to be done harvesting by November, which would have rendered the issue moot, but still it was a concern. And fire and […]

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