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Inflation Reduction Act is good news for hemp farmers



When President Joe Biden signed sweeping legislation on August 16 aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions, reducing prices on prescription drugs, and raising taxes on corporations, there were some less-celebrated implications for the future of hemp.


The Inflation Reduction Act directs $370 billion in spending and tax credits to support low-emission energy sources, and nearly $40 billion is earmarked for sustainable agriculture initiatives over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.


The national hemp advocacy organization said the bill “will open up significant opportunities for hemp production,” because hemp sequesters carbon and can be used as an alternative to petroleum-based fuel and plastics.

According to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the Inflation Reduction Act:

• Extends incentives for biofuels, with about $20 billion in funding for USDA forestry and energy programs, including biofuel infrastructure funding.

• Directs the Natural Resources Conservation Service to measure the impact of farming practices on carbon emissions, funding the effort with $1.4 billion.

• Directs $18 billion to Farm Bill conservation programs to reduce environmental impact.


Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said the organization is looking forward to demonstrating hemp’s role in a sustainable future.


“Hemp growth captures carbon,” Miller said in a news update to supporters, “the plant uses far less water than other fiber crops; and hemp products like plastics and construction materials are biodegradable. Hemp can also be used for biofuel or biomass for fuel alternatives.”


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on August 12 emphasized the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act for farmers, expressing optimism that it would bring economic opportunity to rural communities.


“The Inflation Reduction Act will provide significant support for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as they care for our precious land, adapt and mitigate to climate change and ensure America remains a food secure nation,” Vilsack said in a statement. “With historic investments in a clean energy economy, the Inflation Reduction Act will create good-paying jobs and more economic opportunity in rural communities across the country.”


“With historic investments in a clean energy economy, the Inflation Reduction Act will create good-paying jobs and more economic opportunity in rural communities across the country.”

— U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack


In February, Secretary Vilsack specifically cited hemp’s potential role in a climate-smart and economically thriving future, as reported by Hemp Industry Daily.


“Hemp in construction material, for example,” Vilsack said during the February speech. “Those processing facilities can be located right where the crops are being grown. They can be sustainably produced; they can be a higher value; they can create jobs in rural communities; they can increase farm income; they can expand population centers in rural places, taking pressure off our urban centers; they can restore life and vitality in our small towns.”


The U.S. Hemp Roundtable noted that “more research and investment is needed to empower hemp farmers in the fight against climate change, which is why we are hopeful this new legislation will help fund efforts for sustainable hemp-driven initiatives.”


“More research and investment is needed to empower hemp farmers in the fight against climate change, which is why we are hopeful this new legislation will help fund efforts for sustainable hemp-driven initiatives.”

— U.S. Hemp Roundtable


The Roundtable said it will partner with the U.S. Hemp Authority and U.S. Hemp Sustainability Foundation to identify funding opportunities in the Inflation Reduction Act.


At the White House signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden called the bill “the biggest step forward on climate ever.” Looks like it could be a step forward for hemp as a climate-smart crop, too.

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