Governor Kristi Noem and some veto-override-shy Republicans said last winter that South Dakota wasn’t ready for hemp. Yet even in the midst of May planting, Nebraska legislators and their Republican Governor Pete Ricketts saw a window for Nebraska farmers to get in early on America’s new-old cash crop:
The Nebraska Hemp Farming Act (LB657) would recognize the plant as a viable agricultural crop and align state law with federal law — industrial hemp was legalized in the 2018 farm bill — regarding its cultivation, handling, marketing and processing. It would open up new commercial markets for farmers and businesses through sale of its products.
In debate on the bill, Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, who introduced it, said hemp production was coming, one way or another, and rather than being out of the business for two to three years, it was important that Nebraska get in now [JoAnne Young, “Ricketts Signs Hemp Farming Act into Law,” Lincoln Journal Star, 2019.05.30].
Hemp growers south of our border must act fast: the Nebraska Department of Agriculture just posted applications for hemp-farming licenses yesterday, and the deadline is this coming Friday, June 28. But unlike South Dakota, Nebraska appears capable of responding to new market opportunities quickly.