Organic Hemp Certification
The USDA has issued an instruction stating that “For hemp produced in the United States, only industrial hemp, produced in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill, as articulated in the Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp issued on August 12, 2016 by USDA, may be certified as organic, if produced in accordance with USDA organic regulations.”
The USDA requires certifiers to confirm that a state has such a program before certifying hemp in that state. The National Conference of State Legislatures has published a summary of state industrial hemp statutes However, that information may not be sufficient to determine your state’s status.
For example, even though Oregon has a law that allows individuals registered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture to grow hemp for commercial purposes, the USDA has stated that “The State of Oregon does not have an industrial hemp agricultural pilot research program. Oregon has drafted House Bill 2371 to implement an industrial hemp agricultural pilot research program. Until that bill is passed into law, operations in the State of Oregon producing industrial hemp may not be certified as organic.” The 2018 version of the bill, House Bill 4089, has passed the Oregon Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. **Update: The bill was signed by the Oregon Governor on April 13, 2018, so hemp can now be certified in Oregon.** The official summary of that bill states, “Gives hemp research program currently operated by State Department of Agriculture name of Oregon Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program.”
Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, and Vermont are examples of states that have an industrial hemp agricultural pilot research program that is acceptable to the USDA.
Additional resources that may be useful to operations growing organic hemp: