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Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Interim final rule with request for comments; extension of comment period due date.

SUMMARY:

The United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is extending the comment period due date for an interim final rule published on October 31, 2019, by an additional thirty (30) days from December 30, 2019 to January 29, 2020. The interim final rule establishes a domestic hemp production program pursuant to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The rule outlines provisions for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also establishes a Federal plan for producers in States or territories of Indian Tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. The program includes provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the new part.

DATES:

Comments due dates: The comment period for the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019 (84 FR 58522), is extended. Comments received by January 29, 2020, will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule. Additionally, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), comments on the information collection burden must also be received by January 29, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule and the proposed information collection. Comments should be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be filed with Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; or Fax: (202) 720-8938. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours or can be viewed at: www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Bill Richmond, Chief, U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: William.Richmond@usda.gov or Patty Bennett, Director, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA at the same address and phone number above or Email: Patty.Bennett@usda.gov.

Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: Richard.Lower@usda.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This rule (84 FR 58522) was issued under Section 10113 of Public Law 115-334, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). Section 10113 amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (AMA) by adding Subtitle G (sections 297A through 297D of the AMA). Section 297B of the AMA requires the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to evaluate and approve or disapprove State or Tribal plans regulating the production of hemp. Section 297C of the AMA requires the Secretary to establish a Federal plan for producers in States and territories of Indian Tribes not covered by plans approved under section 297B. Lastly, section 297D of the AMA requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations and guidelines relating to the production of hemp in consultation with the U.S. Attorney General. USDA is committed to issuing the final rule expeditiously after reviewing public comments and obtaining additional information during the initial implementation. USDA may request more comments after the 2020 growing season has ended. In response to requests by commenters to AMS and executive departments and agencies that the public comment due date for this rule be extended, AMS is extending the comment period by an additional thirty (30) days to January 29, 2020.

Start Signature

Dated: December 10, 2019.

Bruce Summers,

Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-27245 Filed 12-17-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P