Hemp farming

Shane Mutter,CEO of Seed 2 System, is pictured with Rep. Rodney McFarland, Sen. Stewart Cathey, Rep. C Travis Johnson, former New Orleans Saints Michael Mauti. The group visited Colorado industrial hemp farms for a better understanding of their production. (Submitted photo) 

A group of legislators visited an industrial hemp farm last week in Longmont, Colorado to discover efficient ways of production in Louisiana.

Rep. C. Travis Johnson, whose district encompasses Tensas, Catahoula and Concordia, was part of the group traveling to Colorado. Also part of the group were Sen. Stewart Cathey, House Chairman of Agriculture, Rep. Jack McFarland.

“We don’t want Louisiana to get left behind in this new developing industry, so we want to make sure we are in alignment with federal guidelines,” said Johnson, who is a member of the Agriculture committee. “We must ensure our agencies understand the needs of our farmers and businesses involved with industrial hemp.  Industrial hemp can produce materials to build with plastic bags, clothes and has many other industrial uses.”

Growing hemp in an experimental basis was allowed under the Agricultural Acts of 2014. In 2018 with the United States farm bill, commodity hemp production was federally legalized and Louisiana legalized hemp in 2019 with the passage of House Bill 491.

While in Colorado, the group toured farms, seed production facilities, manufacturing and extraction facilities. The group also meet with policy advisors to discuss regulatory challenges.

“As the Senate Ag Committee  Chairman, I am proud to work with all segments of the Ag and Forestry Industry from our traditional row crops like rice, corn, cotton, and soybeans to timber and cattle and poultry as well as emerging crops like hemp, which was the focus of this trip,” said Cathey.

Our collective hope is to see a thriving hemp industry that creates jobs and doesn’t hinder prosperity through burdensome regulations. I’m thankful of the team we have on our two Ag committees who work together as a team to promote our industries and look forward to continuing to promote all areas of Agriculture in our state.”

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) issues licenses for the production, processing and transportation of industrial hemp in Louisiana.

The four types of industrial help licenses are as follows:

Grower Licenses — authorizes the licensee to cultivate, handle and transport industrial hemp regardless of the intended use.

Processor License — authorizes the licensee to handle, process and transport industrial hemp.

Seed Producer — authorizes the licensee to produce, transport and seek industrial hemp seed.

Contract Carrier — authorizes the licensee to transport industrial hemp; required when the transporter is not the licensed grower or processor of the plant material.

For more information on the Louisiana Industrial Hemp Program, visit ldaf.state.la.us and click on the industrial hemp tab.

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