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MDARD Begins Hemp Sampling Under New State Plan

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) recently completed its first industrial hemp sampling under the state’s new Hemp Production Plan marking an exciting milestone for MDARD’s hemp program.

Last week, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management inspectors conducted their first sampling of hemp under the state’s federally approved hemp program at a greenhouse in Kalamazoo MI.

Hemp leaves grown at Hampshire Farms in Kingston, Michigan. Photo: Ashley Davenport

“We recognize the importance of an efficient and effective sample collection program,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Industrial Hemp Program Director. “Our experience in Kalamazoo will facilitate improvement of standard operating procedures for sample collection that will best meet the needs of the hemp industry in 2021.”

Under the plan approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last fall, all growers must complete a hemp pre-harvest form, at least 20 days in advance of harvest, to request an appointment for an MDARD inspector to collect the sample(s). MDARD’s sampling activities ensure hemp grown in Michigan follows acceptable tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels established by federal and state law. THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Previously, growers submitted their own samples for testing. Under the approved state plan, MDARD inspectors must conduct the sampling.

“Once MDARD receives the hemp pre-harvest form and grower registration is verified, an MDARD inspector is assigned to schedule an appointment,” added Alessandri. “It’s important growers provide an accurate, monitored telephone number to avoid delays in scheduling and the grower or their authorized representative must be present during sampling.”

Growers should expect to show their Grower Registration and provide maps of all growing locations and lots to be harvested. For the 2021 growing season, sample collection fees will be invoiced post-inspection via the email on file. Fees include a $150 sample collection site visit fee (regardless of the number of samples collected) and $125 per sample lab testing fee. A sample will be collected from each lot identified by the grower on the pre-harvest form and will be a composite of cuttings from multiple plants.

“Growers must be aware of their anticipated harvest dates and plan accordingly when requesting sample collection,” added Alessandri. “Proper planning will help ensure timely sample collection and analysis by MDARD’s Lab Division which will email a final test report for each lot sampled.”

MDARD staff will be presenting and answering questions for hemp growers during the Midwest Hemp Expo on Friday, January 22. For the agenda, the MDARD live question and answer segments as well as how to register, visit Midwest IHemp Expo – Midwest iHemp Expo.

“We appreciate the continued support the state of Michigan has shown for helping grow Michigan’s hemp industry,” said iHemp Michigan Government and Business Liaison Blain Becktold “While it will cost growers and handlers more to farm hemp in the seasons to come, we recognize the value and importance of having a state hemp program as well as MDARD’s commitment to ensuring responsible regulation that benefits our industry. In the long run, this partnership will be invaluable to industrial hemp’s future in Michigan.”  

Additional information about Michigan’s industrial hemp program is available at www.michigan.gov/industrialhemp. Click on the red envelope on the website to register to receive email updates from MDARD with important program news, updates on the federal hemp rules, changes to state hemp laws, regulatory reminders for hemp licensees and more.