USDA finalizes hemp farming regulations: What producers need to know

Farmers across the country have been waiting for this for months.

The Department of Agriculture finalized new regulations for hemp farming Thursday.

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HEMP CROP DU JOUR FOR AMERICAN FARMERS

Farmers across the country have been waiting for the final rule for months. Under the rule -- effective immediately -- states or tribes must submit plans to keep records on hemp-producing land, test the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and dispose of plants with high THC levels.

Producers must also get a license from the USDA. The rule is effective for two years, through Nov. 1, 2021.

Congress authorized a national hemp-growing program in the 2018 farm bill. Hemp can be used to make: "fabric, paper, construction materials, food products, cosmetics, production of cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol or CBD), and other products," like rope, the USDA wrote.

The top of the hemp plant.

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Idaho, South Dakota and Mississippi are the only states in the U.S. that haven't passed legislation for hemp production programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

THESE HEMP FARMERS ARE CASHING IN ON THE CANNABIS CROP

"We have already seen a large growth in hemp production in the United States," Greg Ibach, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said. "I think the experience that producers have this fall with harvesting their crop, handling their crop, finding buyers for their crop is going to be very instructive as to whether or not we see continued growth in the hemp industry or whether or not producers take a step back."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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