The Farm Bill of 2018 declassified industrial hemp. Nonetheless, the cultivation, processing, and marketing of hemp are still tightly regulated..
In 2014, Nebraska approved LB 1001, meaning industrial hemp received ‘agricultural crop’ status within the state. However, hemp cultivation was permissible only on a research-oriented basis. Still, this Bill promised to galvanize improvements regarding Nebraska hemp cultivation.
Since the updated version of the U.S. Farm Bill passed in 2018, states now have the opportunity to cultivate hemp as a cash crop – not just for research or academic purposes. In September 2019, in fact, Professor Ismail Dweikat of UNL spoke of how he planted the first crop of CBD using seeds from Colorado. Since then, Dweikat has received hundreds of calls from farmers interested in growing hemp in Nebraska.
While farmers can indeed grow hemp in Nebraska, they face a myriad of potential regulatory obstacles and application fees. Farmers can earn up to $6,000 per acre of industrial hemp, however, so many are inclined to get started with the state-run application and licensure processes.
All prospective hemp farming in Nebraska must receive state authorization. As of the end of September 2019, Nebraska had authorized just 10 growers from a total of 176 applicants. However, the Department of Agriculture will likely begin to approve more growers, at least according to Professor Dweikat.