Did you really think Governor Kristi Noem was going to embrace industrial hemp? Four months after the Legislature passed 2020 House Bill 1008, Noem’s bureaucratic foot-dragging has ensured that South Dakota farmers will miss another year to establish their presence in the growing hemp market. Her lazy administration won’t even set a deadline for opening that economic door for farmers:
Industrial hemp became legal in South Dakota when Governor Kristi Noem signed the emergency measure March 27. More than 100 days later, her administration is getting closer to submitting a program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider for approval.
State Department of Agriculture spokeswoman JaCee Aaseth said Thursday that South Dakota sent a preliminary version for USDA to look over. She also said state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s office provided feedback on it this week.
Those perspectives will be reflected in the revised version, according to Aaseth. But any hope farmers had to plant this growing season likely has passed.
“The (department) is working to finalize the plan for submission, staff the program, and continue to work on drafting administrative rules. At this time, there is not a specific target date to start accepting applications,” Aaseth said in an email to KELOLAND News [Bob Mercer, “South Dakota Has Months to Go on Hemp,” KELO-TV, 2020.07.16].
Not all South Dakota farmers are missing out. Our tribal governments, often cited as examples of waste and inefficiency, have all managed to get hemp plans to the USDA faster than the Noem Administration:
Meanwhile, at least six tribal governments with land in South Dakota, as well as all six of South Dakota’s neighboring states, have received the federal government’s go-ahead to grow, process and transport industrial hemp and related products that have no more than three-tenths of 1% of THC.
…More than 30 tribal governments throughout the country have received USDA approval of their plans, including these with land in South Dakota [Mercer, 2020.07.16].
Maybe we need to send Governor Noem and the Ag Department her lieutenant is quietly running for her (with more attention, it seems, to the State Fair than to jump-starting hemp) to Pine Ridge and Flandreau for a workshop on government efficiency.