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Virginia Hemp Farmers May Soon Be Able To Get Crop Insurance

Hemp plant.
Hemp plant. (Photo: Marcia O'Connor/Creative Commons)

A bipartisan group of Virginia’s Congressional delegation has secured the state’s participation in an industrial hemp crop insurance program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Federal lawmakers say Virginia’s inclusion in the program will allow producers to better protect their crops in the event of a natural disaster. 

“That will probably move up significant production of industrial hemp in Virginia at least a year so it's a great win for our farmers,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner. 

Hemp farmers like Mike Betts in Mechanicsville said it will make their work easier. 

“It will give us the assurance and peace of mind to where if something big were to happen and our crop were to be destroyed, at least I can recoup some of my costs so that I’m not out of business,” Betts set. 

The U.S. Farm Bill of 2018 legalized the commercial production of hemp, which is derived from the same plant as marijuana. 

Ramesh Dhakal leads the industrial hemp research program at Virginia State University. 

“It is a miracle crop and every part of the plant you can use,” Dhakal said. “It has high impact on the economy.”

If approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors later this year, the program could begin in early 2020.

VPM Intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza  

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