SC Dept. of Agriculture to begin accepting hemp farming, handling permits for 2020 growing season

South Carolina News

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture will begin accepting applications for hemp farming, handling and processing permits for the 2020 growing season on Saturday.

Officials with the SC Dept. of Agriculture say the state’s hemp farming program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 114 permitted farmers and 43 processors at the end of the 2019 season.

There will not be a cap on how many permits can be issued this year and there will be no cap on hemp acreage.

SCDA will no longer allow “responsible parties” growing under another farmer’s permit, meaning each person who wishes to farm hemp must apply for a permit.

Requirements to receive a hemp farming permit include:

  • Proof of South Carolina residency
  • Criminal background check
  • $100 nonrefundable application fee and $1,000 permit fee
  • GPS coordinates of all locations on which hemp will be grown
  • Attending an SCDA orientation and signing a Hemp Farming Agreement prior to possessing any hemp, including clones and seeds

The Dept. of Agriculture will also license hemp processors and, for the first time this year, hemp handlers, a category that includes transporters, seed dealers, laboratories, and others who handle hemp. However, separate permitting fees, facility requirements, validation inspections and certificate of occupancy will be required.

Farming applications will be accepted Feb. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020, while processing and handling applications will become available Feb. 1 and will remain open through the year. Applications will be available on the SCDA website beginning Saturday.

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