Secretary Naig: Hemp May Provide New Opportunities for Iowa Farmers 

DES MOINES, Iowa (May 13, 2019) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that farmers are one step closer to having the option to grow hemp legally in the state of Iowa. The announcement comes after Governor Reynolds signed Senate File 599, the hemp bill, into law earlier today. 

“The 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for commercial hemp production. We’re excited for growers in Iowa to have the same opportunities to compete as their peers in other states,” said Naig. “We’ve collaborated with other state agencies as well as law enforcement officials to prepare for the deregulation of hemp in Iowa. We advise growers to do their research to be sure there is a viable, profitable market for commercial hemp before they make the investment.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will develop a state plan to license and regulate the production of hemp and submit it to the USDA for approval. Farmers cannot legally grow hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves the state’s proposed regulatory plan. Hemp production will likely not be legalized until the 2020 growing season, depending on the timing of the review and approval process. 

Facts about hemp 

  • Once the USDA approves the state’s proposed regulatory plan, an individual farmer can legally grow up to 40 acres of hemp per season. 
  • This law legalizes the production, processing and marketing of hemp in Iowa. It does not legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  
  • Hemp plants (Cannabis spp.) have THC levels of 0.3 percent or less. Plants with THC levels above 0.3 percent are still considered controlled substances in the state of Iowa and must be destroyed.
  • Hemp produces fibers which can be used to make products like textiles, oils, paper and rope. 
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will regulate the production of hemp. 
  • Farmers must have a license from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to grow hemp.

To learn more about hemp production in Iowa, visit iowagriculture.gov/hemp.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Contact: Lexi Marek                           
515-725-0424or 515-664-6311(cell)            
Lexi.Marek@iowaagriculture.gov