CBS19: Virginia added to pilot industrial hemp crop insurance program

CBS19

Virginia is going to be part of a program to develop a crop insurance program for industrial hemp production.

Several members of the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation, including both Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, were able to get Virginia included in a pilot program by AgriLogic Consulting, which will develop a Federal Yield-Based Industrial Hemp Crop Insurance Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This move was also backed by Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-9th), Don Beyer (D-8th), Ben Cline (R-6th), Elaine Luria (D-2nd), Denver Riggleman (R-5th), and Abigail Spanberger (D-7th).

“We are thrilled to have been able to secure Virginia’s place in this critical pilot program,” said the congressional members. “The Commonwealth has a long history of industrial hemp research and development and Virginia’s inclusion in this pilot program will allow producers to better protect their crops in the event of a natural disaster. Additionally, the data collected from our producers will help provide a stronger and more robust insurance product, benefiting growers, processors, consumers and taxpayers across the U.S.”

Last year’s Farm Bill legalized and defined hemp as an agricultural commodity, which removed it from the federal list of controlled substances and made it eligible for crop insurance. It was originally added to that list due to its close relationship with cannabis.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports there are now more than 1,000 registered industrial hemp growers in the Commonwealth, including several in this area.

According to a release, crop insurance is often critical for farmers to protect them against unforeseen disasters.

AgriLogic has been working with hemp growers and processors to collect information as it develops the crop insurance program.

The release says Virginia was not originally included in the pilot program, and it says VDACS was not notified of an opportunity to participate until after the initial pilot states had already been selected.

In a recent letter to AgriLogic, the congressional delegation urged for Virginia’s inclusion in the program, which could begin as early as the 2020 growing season, if it is approved later this year by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors.

AgriLogic has said it will be including Virginia in the plans that will be submitted to the USDA this week.

Hemp can be used for a variety of commodities, including textiles, furniture, food, paper, personal care and construction.

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