COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture on Feb. 1 began accepting applications for hemp farming, handling and processing permits for the 2020 growing season.
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Now in its third year, South Carolina’s hemp farming program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 114 permitted farmers and 43 processors at the end of the 2019 season. In 2020, there is no cap on the number of permits SCDA can issue, and no cap on hemp acreage. SCDA will no longer allow “responsible parties” growing under another farmer’s permit, meaning each person who wishes to farm hemp must apply for a permit.
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Requirements to receive a hemp farming permit include:
• Proof of South Carolina residency
• Criminal background check
• $100 nonrefundable application fee and $1,000 permit fee
• GPS coordinates of all locations on which hemp will be grown
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• Attending an SCDA orientation and signing a Hemp Farming Agreement prior to possessing any hemp, including clones and seeds
SCDA will also license hemp processors and, for the first time this year, hemp handlers, a category that includes transporters, seed dealers, laboratories, and others who handle hemp. Separate permitting fees, facility requirements, validation inspections and certificate of occupancy are required.
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Farming applications will be accepted Feb. 1 through March 31, while processing and handling applications will become available Feb. 1 and will remain open through the year. Applications will be available on the SCDA website, agriculture.sc.gov/hemp, starting Feb. 1.
SCDA is tasked with regulating hemp farming. At present, our agency cannot provide training, information or grants for growing or processing hemp. Those with questions about hemp farming practices should contact their Clemson Cooperative Extension agent.
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A free Hemp Resource Event is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Phillips Market Center, 117 Ballard Court, West Columbia. Join us for vendor booths, discussions and other resources.
For more information about the South Carolina Hemp Farming Program, visit agriculture.sc.gov/hemp or call Vanessa Elsalah at 803-734-8339.
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