Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development begins hemp plant sampling

(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:36 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) just completed its first industrial hemp sampling under the state’s new Hemp Production Plan.

Last week, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management inspectors conducted their first sampling of hemp under the state’s federally approved hemp program at a greenhouse in Kalamazoo, MI.

MDARD’s sampling procedures ensure hemp grown in Michigan follows acceptable tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels established by federal and state law. THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Before this state-approved plan went into place, growers submitted their own samples for testing. Now, MDARD inspectors must conduct the sampling.

“We recognize the importance of an efficient and effective sample collection program,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Industrial Hemp Program Director. “Our experience in Kalamazoo will facilitate improvement of standard operating procedures for sample collection that will best meet the needs of the hemp industry in 2021.”

Under the plan approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last fall, all growers must complete a hemp pre-harvest form, at least 20 days in advance of harvest in order to request an appointment for an MDARD inspector to collect the sample(s).

“Once MDARD receives the hemp pre-harvest form and grower registration is verified, an MDARD inspector is assigned to schedule an appointment,” added Alessandri. “It’s important growers provide an accurate, monitored telephone number to avoid delays in scheduling and the grower or their authorized representative must be present during sampling.”

WHAT SHOULD GROWERS EXPECT

  • Growers should expect to show their Grower Registration and provide maps of all growing locations and lots to be harvested
  • For the 2021 growing season, sample collection fees will be invoiced post-inspection via the email on file
  • Fees include a $150 sample collection site visit fee (regardless of the number of samples collected) and $125 per sample lab testing fee
  • A sample will be collected from each lot identified by the grower on the pre-harvest form and will be a composite of cuttings from multiple plants

Also, MDARD staff will be presenting and answering questions for hemp growers during the Midwest Hemp Expo on Friday, January 22. For the agenda, the MDARD live question and answer segments as well as how to register, visit Midwest IHemp Expo - Midwest iHemp Expo.

For more information about Michigan’s industrial hemp program, click here.

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