Hemp Program Frequently Asked Questions

Industrial Hemp Facts

What are the fundamentals of industrial hemp?

Hemp is one species of cannabis. Although originally hemp was a generic term used by medieval Europeans to describe any fiber, there are now three types of industrial hemps, classified by their purpose upon harvest: for fiber, grains, or CBD (cannabidiol) oil.

Hemps are warm-season crops and are day-length sensitive. Plant will flower in short days regardless of the plant size. Most cultivars of industrial hemps are dioecious, meaning that cultivars are either male or female plants.

Industrial hemp has more than 25, 000 products, including fibers, oilseed, pharmaceuticals, building materials, plastic and composite materials

Is industrial hemp a “super plant” that could save the planet?

No. Industrial hemp is just like any other crop and needs rotation, appropriate water and fertility management. The health of hemp plants is affected by weeds, insects and diseases.

Is marijuana a form of industrial hemp?

No! Although marijuana and industrial hemp plants are the same species and have the same appearance, they vary in the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that they contain. Industrial hemp varieties are grown primarily as an agricultural crop, with THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) content less than or equal to 0.3% (dry weight base). Marijuana plants are grown for high THC content (>0.3%, average above 10%) and are harvested for the flowering tops and leaves.

What are THC and CBD?

Both are cannabinoids, which are rich in trichrome of the bracts of female flowers. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) refers to a psychotropic cannabinoid and is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant's extract. It does not have any intoxicating effects but may reduce anxiety and function as an anti-psychotic.

Federal and North Carolina Regulations on Industrial Hemp

What is new in the 2018 Farm Bill on industrial hemp?

The 2018 Farm Bill redefines hemp as an agricultural commodity, explicitly removing it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act and the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

What is the role of the Industrial Hemp Commission?

The commission creates rules and regulations, develops the licensing procedures, verifies hemp seeds or plants are under 0.3% THC as established by law, obtains necessary import permits for hemp seed, and distributes pilot program licenses to participants.

Will the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission make major changes to its Industrial Hemp Pilot Program because of the 2018 Farm Bill?

The 0.3% dry weight rule of THC was an arbitrary number, but with international acceptance. It probably will not be changed in the near future.

License Application

Where can I get the application form?

The application form is located on the N.C. Department of Agriculture (NCDA) website. You can apply online or print off a paper application.

Where can I get help filling out the application?

There are application instructions and frequently asked questions on the NCDA website. You may also contact Meghan Roche ( meghan.roche@ncagr.gov , 919-707-3735) regarding applications. N.C. A&T;’s State University’s industrial hemp contact persons can also assist you

Are there any particular requirements to apply and qualify for an industrial hemp license?

All of the state’s license requirements are listed online. The most important of the requirements is that each individual applying for a license demonstrate through their tax return from the previous year that they are a bona fide farmer.

Read the requirements carefully and prepare documents before submitting your application, either online or by mail. In your application, you should include a copy of your seed/clone sources’ license and the THC lab reports of industrial cultivars that you plan to grow.

Can I grow industrial hemp under another person’s license?

No. Each individual seeking to become a part of the industrial hemp program must apply for their own license.

If I only grow several industrial hemp plants, do I still need a license?


Industrial Hemp Production and Economics

What is the first thing I need to do in order to grow industrial hemp?

We would recommend that you gather as much information as possible, through workshops, websites, field days and other training opportunities, to make a better assessment of your capabilities and to establish your intended production plan. Applying for a license should follow your assessment, as it is the first and most necessary step to become a qualified grower in North Carolina.

What is a reasonable timeline for getting started growing industrial hemp?

There is no timeline for licensure. Applications are handled individually, based upon what is needed from the applicant before it is presented to the commission. We advise growers to develop a plan for hemp production – i.e., what do I want to grow, how much do I want to grow, where will I get my plants/seeds, who am I going to sell it to, etc. – prior to submitting the application. This should be done at least 6 months before the growing season. Make sure that seeds or clones are secured before your targeted planting date. Based upon research from surrounding states and current production data in N.C.; most varieties take from 100-140 days to mature.

I am a small producer. Is it profitable for me to get involved in industrial hemp production?

The information on profits made from growing industrial hemp in North Carolina is still emerging, and each individual should weigh all aspects of their production costs and available markets before getting involved.

The NCDA is advising that growers proceed with caution and closely examine potential market opportunities:

“Potential growers are cautioned that industrial hemp is new to North Carolina and the markets are not well-defined at this time. Growers ASSUME ALL RISK for growing and marketing industrial hemp in this research pilot program.” – N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

“Markets for small acreage crops are fragile, and good advice for North American farmers interested in hemp production is to identify buyers and a selling price before planting the crop.” – J. H. Cherney and E. Small (2016) in “Industrial Hemp in North America: Production, Politics and Potential”

Can I get insurance for industrial hemp crops?

The new Farm Bill has redefined industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is eligible for insurance coverage. However, the production and profit potential of industrial hemps are still being researched. Therefore, the insurance policy will be worked out eventually, but probably will take a few years.

What can I do with the hemp I produce?

State and national markets for products made from industrial hemp were relatively small, but are now emerging rapidly as production, interest and demand is on the rise. Growers should proceed with caution and examine potential market opportunities, including processors and buyers, as an essential part of their production plan.

Where can small, limited resource and minority farmers get funding to become part of the industrial hemp program?

There is no special funding available to any farmers to become involved in the hemp program. Farmers should utilize the same funding sources that are currently available for cropping systems. All government cropping program information is available through your local county Extension office.

Are the small, limited resource and minority farmers being left out of the hemp program?

The industrial hemp pilot program is an all- inclusive program for all qualified growers. As with all new crops or programs, it is imperative that each potential grower does his or her own due diligence to acquire the information necessary to move forward. The university has taken on the responsibility of making sure that interested individuals have access to research and production information as it becomes available.

Working with N.C. A&T on industrial Hemp

I would like to work with the university on growing industrial hemp in order to conduct research. How do I get started?

You must have a license to participate in the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Contact persons for N.C. A&T; are Leon Moses, superintendent of the University Farm ( ljmoses@ncat.edu , 336-398-8690), and Dr. Sanjun Gu, horticulture specialist for Cooperative Extension ( sgu@ncat.edu , 336-285-4954) who will assist you with assessing your research purpose/plan and the application process.

What kind of research can I engage in with the university?

If you would like to establish research projects on your farm, the university will assist you with the technical support. Participants in the pilot program must select a research purpose based upon the options offered on the application. Examples of that would be planting methods, seeding rates, planting dates, variety trials, fertility or crop adaptation. Keep in mind that, as this crop is in the research stage, knowledge of production techniques is developing annually. Please note that all licensed industrial hemp growers will be required to report research data and production information to the NCDA (not N.C. A&T;) at the end of each growing season. A mandatory electronic survey will be issued to all growers for reporting.

Can the university help me get started in industrial hemp production?

The university can assist you on determining a research purpose and can provide technical assistance with production requirements and techniques. The university is also conducting a series of workshops and field days to provide hands-on training and make available the latest research information. N.C. A&T; will also continuously update our industrial hemp webpage.

Will the university fund research projects on my farm?

Currently, the university has no funded projects that will support research projects on your farm. Researchers are seeking funding to establish trials on multiple farms throughout the state in the near future. If, and when, that funding is secured, interested and qualified farmers will be selected by Cooperative Extension of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Can I get free plants or seeds from N.C. A&T; for my hemp project?

No. N.C. A&T; does not supply or sell industrial hemp seeds or plants to farmers.

Why can’t the university partner with those farmers and groups interested in collaborating to get started?

In the best interest of all involved, N.C. A&T; is committed to providing the same type of technical support and information to all interested persons or groups. In this way, we can be a resource all persons hoping to become a part of this program.