USDA Not Including Hemp Farmers for Coronavirus Assistance
- The USDA is excluding hemp farmers from a coronavirus assistance fund because they have not experienced a “significant” drop in crop price.
- According to the USDA, in order to be eligible to receive financial hemp farmers must undergo a price drop of at least 5%.
- Members of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable claim that due to hemp’s youthfulness in the market, there is no widely-published data on its price.
The struggle between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and farmers across the country continued this week as the USDA announced that hemp farmers have not lost enough money to be eligible for coronavirus assistance.
The $16 billion fund is designated for all farmers who underwent price drops due to the coronavirus and its impact on the economy.
Although the USDA acknowledged a drop in the national price for hemp crops (based on data from January to April of 2020), they informed farmers that the decrease was not significant enough to qualify for the relief funds.
According to the USDA, the aggregated price only saw a decrease of 1%; short of the 5% that is needed to be eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
Back in the last few days of May, the USDA announced that the $16 billion set aside for farmers facing a loss as a result of the pandemic excluded both hemp crops and tobacco. They provided a small light at the end of the tunnel, however, by claiming that hemp and tobacco farmers could be considered for relief money if they saw a 5% or greater decrease in crop price from January to April.
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable rebutalled that hemp, being a new commodity, did not have pricing data that was widely published, making it difficult for farmers to prove their losses and receive assistance from the USDA.
A member of the Hemp Roundtable, Jonathan Miller, claims that hemp farmers had actually seen a decline greater than 5% when factoring in the downturns for hemp flower and biomass prices that occurred during the highlighted time period.
If the USDA fails to realize the significance in the price drop for the hemp industry, then it could spell trouble for countless farmers across the U.S. With hemp being a new commodity and still finding its place in the market, it would be devastating to exclude it from a $16 billion package that is intended to save farmers from financial crisis.