Sep 26 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with U.S. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) today secured Virginia’s inclusion in a pilot program by AgriLogic Consulting, a private company developing a Federal Yield-Based Industrial Hemp Crop Insurance Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We are thrilled to have been able to secure Virginia’s place in this critical pilot program,” said the members of Congress. “The Commonwealth has a long history of industrial hemp research and development and Virginia’s inclusion in this pilot program will allow producers to better protect their crops in the event of a natural disaster. Additionally, the data collected from our producers will help provide a stronger and more robust insurance product, benefitting growers, processors, consumers, and taxpayers across the U.S.”
Last year, Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the “Farm Bill,” which legalized and clearly defined hemp as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and making it eligible for crop insurance. According to recent VDACS data, there are now over 1,000 registered industrial hemp growers across the Commonwealth.
Crop insurance is often critical for farmers to guard against unforeseen disasters. AgriLogic has been working with hemp growers and processors across the country to gather data as it develops a Federal Yield-Based Industrial Hemp Crop Insurance Program on behalf of USDA. Drafts of this pilot program initially did not include Virginia, potentially giving growers in other states an unfair advantage in the new market. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) was not even notified of an opportunity to participate until after initial pilot states had already been selected.
Yesterday, the members sent a letter to AgriLogic, urging it to include Virginia in the hemp crop insurance program, which could begin as early as the 2020 growing season, if approved later this year by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board of Directors. Today, AgriLogic announced that it will include Virginia in the plans it will submit to the USDA next week.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of hemp as an agricultural commodity. The Farm Bill included a provision sponsored by both Senators, that removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, allowing Virginia farmers to grow and sell the plant as a commodity for use in agriculture, textile, recycling, automotive, furniture, food, nutrition, beverage, paper, personal care, and construction products.