Policy changes at a federal agency have begun to affect the U.S. market for hemp, and offered more opportunities to farmers across the country.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new legal guidelines toward hemp cultivation have been some of the first concrete steps by a federal body, especially in the wake of noncommittal deliberation at the Food and Drug Administration. They will also bring increased security to farmers in 2020.
Under the USDA’s U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, farmers in 21 states will be able to insurance policies for their industrial hemp crops.
Industrial hemp is used to create CBD oil, along with textiles, bioplastics and other uses. It was only recently legalized federally at the end of 2018, and last year saw an explosion in its popularity.
According to AFX News, USDA Risk Management Administrator Martin Barbre said of the program: “We are excited to offer coverage to certain hemp producers in this pilot program. Since this is a pilot program, we look forward to feedback from producers on the program in the coming crop year.” 
Over 30 states have legalized industrial hemp, but others have not recognized the substance despite the federal allowance.
According to reporting from MarketWatch, hemp farmers have viewed the new insurance possibilities under the USDA plan as a refreshing holiday gift of clarity and security.
Previous USDA guidance has claimed that under no circumstances are police to stop interstate traffic of hemp products because of diverse state laws and federal legalization, but that didn’t stop the summer arrest of a Colorado delivery trucker headed to Minnesota as he passed through South Dakota.
After the USDA travel rules were publicized, the FDA released warnings about CBD’s health outcomes. Those statements claimed CBD can cause liver damage and other problems, but the World Health Organization contradicted this earlier in the year when it found CBD use has no health risks.
Sonny Purdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said in a press release that, “At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets."
"We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”