USDA Extends Federal Protections To Hemp Growers

Feb 11, 2020

Two federal insurance programs are now available for hemp farmers to protect their crops from natural disasters.

Bridgehampton hemp producer David Falkowski credits the U.S. Department of Agriculture for having the backs of farmers.

“This is a very stressful, fast moving industry right now. There are people who have gone bankrupt, who have lost the farm. There are people who have committed suicide – all right here in the U.S. – because they lost their shirt. So a bad year could mean you are just out of business, and you’re bankrupt.”

Established hemp farmers in 21 states can apply for the insurance programs to cover the loss of damaged and destroyed crops. 

New Yorkers can be covered, but Connecticut growers could not qualify for this year. 

Meanwhile, legislation that regulates New York’s hemp industry could set the groundwork for adult-use recreational marijuana in both states. 

Falkowski says the requirements and processes to produce hemp could be extended to legal retail pot.

“Legalization doesn’t mean free-for-all. Legalization actually means to control and regulate. It doesn’t mean a free-for-all. It means they are going to take control of something that the black market has control of now.”  

Falkowski hosted a forum over the weekend in the Hamptons to educate local elected officials and police about growing cannabis.

New York plans to work with New Jersey and Connecticut to coordinate a safe way to legalize recreational marijuana.