USDA Gives Funds to NIHC to Support the Market for Exporting Hemp in Europe and Asia

On Friday, the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) announced that it received $200,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for supporting the council’s development of an exporting market for industrial hemp through the Market Access Program (MAP). This is the first time the USDA has officially recognized a hemp organization. 

Kevin Latner, NIHC’s Senior Vice President for Trade and Marketing said in the announcement, “we are grateful for USDA confidence and the recognition of NIHC as the industry leader in industrial hemp trade and marketing … Today’s announcement makes NIHC a trusted partner to USDA for hemp fiber, feed, food and CBD companies looking to break down trade barriers in markets overseas.”

According to Hemp Grower, the funds are part of a one-year cost-sharing agreement with the NIHC and other hemp companies and also includes marketing and promotion agreements. The announcement said that the global industrial hemp market had $11.1 billion in retail sales last year and it has a 52 percent growth rate, leading to a market forecast of $89 billion in the next five years. 

The NIHC said that its programs will focus on Europe and China, and that the company will also work on market research and trade policies and facilitation. Europe reportedly was chosen because it has “rapidly developed a robust hemp and CBD market,” and is a “strong producer of industrial use hemp products.” China was chosen because it leads global hemp textile markets. 

The announcement also said that after the 2018 Farm Bill passed, the United States “has become the world’s third largest producer of industrial hemp.” This funding will allow the NIHC to have more access to trade negotiators, foreign government counterparts, and international hemp counterparts. It will also allow foreign governments to “understand that NIHC is now supported by the U.S. government and represents U.S. industry interests.” The organization is hoping to use the funds from the USDA to help build relationships and partnerships, in addition to research.