Illinois Stewardship Alliance Releases Industrial Hemp Guide

 Illinois Industrial Hemp growers and processors now have a how-to guide for navigating the state’s new industrial hemp application process

Springfield – On Friday, Illinois Department of Agriculture is expected to release the Industrial Hemp Cultivator and Processor applications to allow farmers to apply for a permit to grow industrial hemp in Illinois for the first time in 80 years. To assist hemp growers and processors in following new state regulations, Illinois Stewardship Alliance produced a free, downloadable guide to navigate the rules and application process.

 “The Illinois Stewardship Alliance worked very hard and provided their full support as the Department of Agriculture implemented the Industrial Hemp program here in Illinois,” said John Sullivan, Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture.  “Industrial hemp will provide more opportunities for crop sustainability and job opportunities for Illinois farmers, growers and business owners.”

Liz Rupel, Policy Organizer of the Alliance, commended Director John Sullivan and agency staff for their tireless work to draft rules to implement the Illinois Industrial Hemp Farming Act during the new administrations’ first 100 days of office. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was passed by the General Assembly with wide bipartisan support in the spring of 2018 and signed into law in August.

“Director Sullivan made hemp a top priority in his first few months on the job. Now Illinois producers will have an opportunity to apply for a permit in time to plant a hemp crop this spring,” Rupel said.

The Alliance, who championed the legalization of hemp production with Illinois Farmers Union, produced the guide to prepare farmers with the necessary information needed to apply for a hemp license. The guide sheds light on the state’s application and reporting process for the new crop and includes information on fees, inspection, testing and sampling, and sale and transfer of industrial hemp. Illinois Department of Agriculture agency staff, Jeff Cox, contributed to the guide.

IDOA Director John Sullivan and IDOA Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Medicinal Plants Jeff Cox stand with representatives from Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Environmental Council, and the Illinois Hemp Industries Association, three organizations that have been leading the charge for industrial hemp in Illinois.

Viewers of the guide should expect updates. “We expect to be frequently updating the guide as we learn from farmers and processors’ experiences navigating the application and regulation of hemp in Illinois,” Rupel said.

The Illinois Industrial Hemp Guide is available now for free download at