On Wednesday at 9:30am PT @ the Port of Quincy (Quincy, WA), the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and several other organizations were scheduled to convene at the Industrial Hemp Summit.
- Facilitated by the Grant County Economic Development Council and the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Industrial Hemp Summit is a free, day-long event aiming to provide education and networking opportunities for active and prospective hemp farmers and processors. WSDA hemp program lead Steve Howe planned to present an overview of Washington’s new state plan initiated via SB 5276 during the 2019 session. Other presentations would cover “export assistance,” the “political landscape,” growing in Washington, hemp genetics, and markets.
- Cannabis Observer reached out to Bonny Jo Peterson, the Executive Director of the Industrial Hemp Association of Washington, who had the following to say about the event: “The Industrial Hemp Summit in Quincy, WA is geared towards educating interested Eastern WA hemp producers and processors. A few confirmed attendees grew in 2019. There will be a focus on export and market projections (that don't really exist yet) we will be emphasizing risk vs rewards as well as current supply and demand perceptions. I will be covering how we got to the current legislation, the USDA Interim Rules effects on hemp in WA and future legislation both in state and federally. Presentation will range from soil and genetics to harvesting, drying and entering that market either farmer direct or fully integrated. Cooperatives and partner farming will also be covered as well as grain and fiber.”
- Following the passage of SB 5276, WSDA developed a state hemp plan in late November 2019 which addressed the requirements of the federal 2018 Farm Bill and submitted it for approval by the USDA. Meanwhile, the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot (IHRP) expired on January 1st but the new program’s rules go into effect in late February, which necessitated filing interim rules to the same effect on December 19th. Presumably, Howe will address some of the confusion created by the legislature’s mandate for WSDA to conduct expedited rulemaking, bypassing formal public input, to establish a new regulatory regime for the federally recognized agricultural commodity.