Louisiana farmers could soon start growing industrial hemp

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says Louisiana’s farmers could start growing industrial hemp by the spring if federal and state agriculture agencies keep their regulatory work on track.

Strain outlined to state lawmakers Monday the regulations his department has drafted for industrial hemp production. The rules will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval.

Lawmakers earlier this year agreed to legalize hemp production in Louisiana, saying that would help farmers diversify their crops. Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family used for textiles, fuels, rope and chemical absorbents, among other products.

WAFB-TV reports that federal officials must first write their own rules for hemp’s growth before it can accept Louisiana’s additional regulations. Strain expects the USDA’s policy to be finished in November.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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