The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
Imperial County continues efforts to foster industrial hemp cultivation
April 28, 2019
IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif – Despite a recent advisory from the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) notifying local growers that the IID will not provide water delivery service for industrial hemp cultivation, Imperial County officials will continue the quest of seeking available legal avenues to promote and encourage the crop’s advancement within the County.
On Tuesday, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Hemp Foundation and California Hemp Association, two organizations that promote commerce and research of industrial hemp and its applications, agreeing to collaborate to achieve the County’s economic development objectives in the hemp industry. California hemp farmers have identified growing conditions needed for the commodity are ideal in Imperial County.
Chairman of the Board and District 4 Supervisor Ryan E. Kelley said, “The recent news from the IID will not deter our efforts to encourage hemp production and seek new industrial opportunities that could result in significant job creation in Imperial County.”
In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp as a Schedule 1 narcotic and legalized its cultivation and production. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues the process of developing regulations and, until released, will not allow hemp cultivation outside of those projects tied to research performed by institutions of higher education.
Until such regulations are released, Imperial County will continue seeking opportunities within the law and regulations set forth in the 2014 Farm Bill.
In addition, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been notified by the Office of Administrative Law that the CDFA’s regulations for the registration of commercial cultivation of industrial hemp have been approved. Once guidelines are released, the Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office will begin the process of registering hemp growers.
County officials will continue working with partners to build abundant opportunities for our communities.
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