Hemp industry in Nevada thriving as fourth year of harvest begins


Rebecca Allured
Public Information Officer
(SPARKS, Nev.) - August 08, 2019

The 2019 hemp growing season is underway, and crop harvest has already begun in southern Nevada. The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Hemp program began as research and development under the 2014 Farm Bill and started in 2017 with just 26 growers.

“Now in our fourth growing season, we have certified 207 registered growers, 53 handlers and 37 seed producers to date,” Ashley Jeppson, Plant Industry division administrator, said. “The program has grown by more than 600 percent since 2017, and we are proud that Nevada is on the forefront of the hemp industry.”

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the NDA continues to work closely with hemp growers, handlers and seed producers to ensure compliance with new federal regulations. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances, making it an agricultural commodity, setting consistent regulations across the U.S. and supporting a growing industry.

“In an effort to support the hemp industry, we are communicating federal updates and guidance to certificate holders as they are being rolled out,” Jeppson said.

Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis species, marijuana is still federally listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Hemp and marijuana are legally differentiated by their Tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) content, which is determined through chemical analysis. The new farm bill has standardized testing requirements to more accurately assess THC content. Per federal law and Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 557, crops that test over 0.3 percent THC are required to be disposed of under NDA supervision.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages environmental stewardship that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. The NDA includes the five divisions of