Robin Pruisner is overseeing the plan for the state ag department and says a public hearing Wednesday is the final step.
“We have one more public hearing on this latest set of rules, and then they should go into effect April 8th without any more hiccups,” Pruisner says. The public hearing is set for 9-10 a-m central time via teleconference. You can participate by calling 866-685-1580 and entering code 0009990941#.
Pruisner says the U.S.D.A. approved the plan pretty much as presented. “There were some minor changes — I would call it wording changes — and they wanted us to carry over a few sentences that were actually in the statute and they also wanted them in the rules,” Pruisner says. “So those were our biggest changes. I think for someone looking at hemp, they are not going to see any major here that impacts them as they move forward with their plans.”
She says all the information to apply for a hemp license is online. “There will be an application form that can be downloaded from our website and they’ll need to fill that out. And then the key personnel and anybody with five percent or more legal or equitable interest will need to submit their official fingerprints to us — so that we can do the FBI background check that is required,” Pruisner explains.
Governor Kim Reynolds signed the hemp bill into law around one year ago — and it has been touted as an alternative crop for Iowa farmers. Pruisner says a lot has changed in the time the rules have been developed since the bill was signed into law.
“Nothing is ever simple I think this world, and there’s a lot of I don’t know if you call them urban myths or rural myths out there about the enormous amount of money that can be made growing hemp,” according to Pruisner. “And maybe that might have had a little tinge of truth to it a couple of years ago when not many people were growing it.”
But she says you really need to review the market before moving forward. “I think anybody who is considering getting into this business needs to take a hard look at some of the price reports and stock reports that are available out there. My number one piece of advice is that no one should plant hemp unless you already have a contract to sell it — because of the oversupply that has reared up here in the last year,” Pruisner says.
She says she had a lot of calls when the bill was first signed into law, and still gets calls from people interested in growing hemp. But, she isn’t sure how many people will be willing to jump into the hemp market. “It’s too early to tell. And for several months I’ve answered that question the exact same way. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be more than three licenses — but less than three thousand,” Pruisner says.
Detailed instructions on how to apply for a hemp license are available at iowaagriculture.gov/hemp. This commercial hemp production program does not legalize the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for human consumption, extraction or processing in Iowa.