Applications are due May 1st for the 2019 Montana State Hemp Program. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Pilot Program included 58 hemp growers and included grew 22,000 acres of hemp in 2018, up from 550 acres in 2017. In 2018, Montana grew more hemp in terms of acreage than any other state.
To grow hemp, farmers must be licensed under Montana’s Department of Agriculture program. License fees are $450.
Hemp is a hardy crop that thrives in Montana’s climate. Legally hemp contains no more than 0.3-percent THC.
Hemp can be used in a variety of end products from concrete to textiles to fiber to food to pharmaceutical uses to cosmetic uses to animal feed and bedding. Simplified, the uses are categorized as fiber, hurd, or CBD oil:
Fiber – used in textiles, rope, fiberglass, clothing and paper materials
Hurd – used in hempcrete biocomposite building material, hemp oil, chemical spill cleanup and as a hay-like replacement for bedding
CBD* (Cannabidiol) - used in body balms, face masks, tinctures, pet treats, etc.
*CBD oil has not been proven by the Food and Drug Administration
2018 FARM BILL LEGALIZATION OF HEMP
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp by removing it from the government’s list of controlled substances. Prior to the federal legalization of hemp, farms could only source seeds through the Department of Agriculture. Now, seeds can now be sourced form anyone licensed in Montana, which includes third parties.
Within the boundaries of tribal lands, tribal governments have jurisdiction on legality and variety of hemp grown within reservation boundaries.
MONTANA HEMP PRODUCERS
There are many hemp growers and hemp-related product producers in Montana. The list below features a short selection of such companies:
Hemp Holding Company, which is located in Bonner, Montana, buys hemp from organic farmers and transforms it into cold-pressed hemp seed oil and pellets for wood stoves.
Montana Tech has partnered with grower Kim Phillips in Helena Valley to strength test hemp against other natural fibers such as bamboo. Kim also sells hemp hurd for animal bedding and cold-pressed seed for biofuel.
A new processing facility will open in soon in Conrad (Pondera County). Evolutions CBD, which makes CBD-based products like drink mixes, topical serums, gummies, face and muscle creams and lip balm, is opening the facility, a former furniture storage building.
There is also a hemp processing facility in the works in Sun River in Cascade County. The facility will process industrial hemp turning it into a CBD isolate, which will be sent as a powder to a manufacturer who will turn it into CBD oil.
Hemp presents a value-added agriculture opportunity for farmers in Montana. With the federal legalization change, the environment around hemp growing is changing. To learn more, check out the frequently asked questions on the Industrial Hemp page within the Montana Department of Agriculture.