College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Industrial Hemp Program

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has obtained approval from the Industrial Hemp Commission (IHC) for a permit to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

Our research in the CAES focuses on the following

  • Identifying the best hemp varieties for producing CBD in North Carolina.
  • Determining the varieties of hemp that will grow in various parts of the state.
  • Assessing soil health and growing conditions.
  • Investigating the use of hemp in new energy technologies.
  • Exploring the various uses of hemp.

We are happy to work with small-scale producers interested in growing industrial hemp. In order to work with the university, farmers must first apply for a permit. The application is available on the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Hemp Manual describes the policies governing hemp research at N.C. A&T.

For application-related questions, including to make changes to your license, to pay fees, or to notify that your plants are flowering, please email

For more information about the permitting process, contact the Industrial Hemp Commission at (919) 707-3236.

The current rules for hemp production in North Carolina were developed based on the 2014 Farm Bill, and will be replaced by the final rules developed by USDA on January 1, 2022. 

For current N.C. Industrial Hemp Pilot Program license holders:

  • Your license will expire on January 1, 2022.
    • If your current license expires before September, renew your license with the state program. State program will waive the renewal fees from September through December.
    • Continue to follow the state rules before January 1, 2022. After that, follow the USDA final rules.
  • Apply for a USDA license as soon as possible, if continuing to grow hemp after December 31, 2021.

For growers who do not have a NC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program license, but are interested in growing hemp:

  • Apply for a USDA license as soon as possible.
  • You can still apply for a license with the state program by paying the full application fees; however, be aware that your approved license is only valid through the end of 2021.

Hemp, by the definition of 2018 Farm Bill, is Cannabis Sativa species that has no more than 0.3% psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on the dry-weight basis. It is illegal to grow hemp without a license and to produce plants with more than 0.3% THC content.

To apply for a USDA hemp license:

  1. Acquire USDA Hemp Program information at Questions may be submitted to, or call (202) 720-2491.
  2. Create an eAuthorization (eAuth) Account at
  3. Obtain a copy of your FBI criminal history report. (
    1. If you or your key participants had a felony conviction related to a controlled substance during the last 10 years, your license application will be denied.
  4. Register to use the Hemp eManagement Platform (HeMP) at HeMP is where you will apply for a USDA hemp production license and manage hemp reporting for USDA.
  5. Apply for a license by following the instructions on the HeMP online tool.
    1. Be sure to designate your hemp lots carefully and accurately, and be aware that each lot will be sampled and tested for THC separately.
    2. It may take several weeks for USDA to begin processing your application so apply early.
After the approval of your license, you can start to prepare and grow hemp. Be sure to report hemp acreage and other information required by USDA, and to follow USDA rules in sampling and testing for THC.

For more information please contact

Sanjun Gu, Ph.D.
Horticulture Specialist
Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T
(336) 285-4954 or
Leon Moses
N.C. A&T University Farm
(336) 398-8690 or