Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill April 11 authorizing hemp food ingredients to be marketed as commercial feed.
HB 396 could be a significant step forward in opening markets for the developing American hemp grain industry. Key features of the bill include:
• Clarifies hemp seed food ingredients and substances derived from hemp are included in the definition of commercial feed.
• Provides authority for hemp for use as commercial feed for pets and horses.
• Includes feed use with other livestock, effectiveness contingent upon FDA-DVM approval of hemp as an approved additive or defined ingredient in animal food or medicated feed for livestock.
The bill passed nearly unanimously in the Montana legislature and had support from the Montana Farm Bureau, Montana Farmers Union, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Grain Growers Association.
"Hemp provides an additional rotation crop for farmers and value-added opportunities for our rural communities," said Rep. Josh Kassmier, bill sponsor and member of the House Ag Committee.
Industry support behind the bill included Montana hemp oilseed and fiber company IND HEMP in conjunction with lobby firm Agricultural Hemp Solutions.
"In Montana, we look forward to building a nationally recognized hemp program founded on grain and fiber production, and working with those farmers and businesses who work hard to make things happen," said Ken Elliott, founder of IND HEMP.
Courtney Moran, chief legislative strategist at Agricultural Hemp Solutions, who worked on the bill with Montana lawmakers, called the bill “a positive and necessary step forward in recognizing hemp as an agricultural commodity, and opens the door for hemp as a commercial feed ingredient creates new markets for farmers.”