The ability to grow industrial hemp could benefit farmers in Pennsylvania by allowing them to diversify their crop bases.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has released a set of proposed rules that set the stage for growing the Vermont hemp industry and the state’s economy. The Agency filed the rules with the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, which begins the rule making process in Vermont. The Agency will hold public hearings around the state to take comments on the rules from all partners in the industry.

“Farmers are buying seed, equipment and land. Processors are opening facilities and hiring people. These proposed rules help shape the future. We are excited to help improve the rural economic landscape with this important step,” said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts.

The proposed rules focus on consumer assurance, testing and building a Vermont brand.

“We have a great opportunity for our farmers to build a Vermont hemp brand much like Vermont has done around cheese, ice cream, beer, wine and maple. These rules help in this effort,” said Stephanie Smith of the VAAFM.

The Agency met with stakeholders, shared its vision for supporting the industry in multiple forums, and received feedback from legislators and other interested individuals on the content of the rules. The rules will support VAAFM’s state plan submission to USDA for primary regulator authority over hemp cultivation and processing.

“The input from farmers, processors and policy makers has been tremendous. We will continue to seek their help as we finalize the rules that will shape the hemp market for years to come,” said Cary Giguere of the VAAFM.

The proposed rules can be found online on the VAAFM website at bit.ly/VThemprules.

For more information, contact Stephanie Smith, VAAFM chief policy enforcement officer, by email at stephanie.smith@vermont.gov or by phone at 802-828-1732.

Source: Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.