Iowa governor signs law enabling industrial hemp production

Courtesy Iowa Senate CommunicationsGovernor Kim Reynolds hands Senator Kevin Kinney of Oxford one of the pens she used to sign legislation to legalize industrial hemp production in Iowa. Kinney, himself an Iowa farmer, worked several years to win passage of the legislation. He hopes it will help expand farm markets and produce higher profits. From left to right: Governor Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Senator Kinney, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, and Dr. Christopher Disbro, the president of the Iowa Hemp Association, and CEO of the Heartland Hemp Company.

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that allows Iowa farmers to legally grow industrial hemp.

The Iowa Hemp Act passed the Legislature with overwhelming support last month.

The bill Reynolds signed Monday allows licensed growers to cultivate the crop on up to 40 acres. First, however, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship must develop a plan and submit it for approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA must still release its own regulations this fall, with hopes of allowing farmers to grow hemp next year.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill eased federal restrictions on hemp production, most states have either legalized production or are growing it under a 2014 law that allows limited commercial production or research plots.

Among those that haven't is South Dakota, where the governor vetoed such a law last month.

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