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Proposal would provide resources for state to help hemp farmers

MADISON (WKOW) — State agriculture officials could soon have more resources to help farmers who are growing hemp for the first time.

Legislation being considered would allow the Department of Agriculture, Trade, Consumer Protection (DATCP) to hire independent companies to test hemp. Right now there’s only one facility in Madison that does testing. 

27 News reported earlier this month DATCP tests hemp before it’s harvested, but some farmers are concerned the testing takes too long as the longer hemp grows, the higher the THC levels.

Governor Evers said he supports the bipartisan bill that would allow DATCP to hire additional companies to sample hemp to make sure it’s below 0.3% THC. 

“There’s lots of interest in hemp and we have limited staff members,” said Evers. He said he is confident the new bill will provide resources needed to fix problems. 

The bill is sponsored by Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) who said these changes will comply with federal law.

The bill incorporates changes made in the federal farm bill as well as feedback from farmers and processors who had ideas of how the program could run more smoothly,” Testin wrote in a statement.

The proposal would also allow DATCP to allow farmers to recondition their crops and send “hot crops” to a processor to lower the THC levels instead of destroying their fields.

“It would provide a number of tools and resources for the next growing season with the goal of helping farmers have a successful harvest,” Grace Atherton, DATCP Communications Director wrote in a statement.

While this legislation gives DATCP more resources it’s up to the department to decide how they’ll implement changes.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for a full vote, which could be called as soon as next week when lawmakers return. Governor Evers signaled he will sign it if legislators pass it.

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Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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