Frequently Asked Questions...
Some of the answers to these frequently asked questions refer to the CHTA Hemp Production eGuide. You can review that guide by clicking on the CHTA logo.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Under the 2014 Farm Bill an s.94.55, Wis Stats, industrial hemp is defined as the plant with the Latin species name Cannibis sativa L., with a delta-9-THC concentration of 0.3% or less in all parts of the plant when it is being dried. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, federal law removed the word "industrial", and now defines hemp as "the plant Cannibis sativa L. and any part of the plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannibol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Will I need a license to grow hemp?
Yes, you will need a one time license and an annual registration to grow any amount of hemp in Wisconsin, including hemp starter plants and any hemp that may be grown for personal use.
How does growing industrial hemp affect my FSA and/or federal crop insurance contracts or program participation?
The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as an agricultural commodity, so federal agencies no longer consider hemp to be a controlled substance. Farmers should now be able to get federal crop insurance for an industrial hemp crop as long as you hold a current hemp grower license and registration from DATCP. If you are thinking of planting industrial hemp, you should check with your local FSA service center to see if your access to federal crop support programs might be affected by growing hemp.
How do I apply to grow hemp?
To grow industrial hemp you must:
Am I required to do anything else if I participate in the hemp program?
You must allow DATCP access to your hemp fields to inspect and sample, submit a planting report, and submit a final report. You must maintain a variety of records. You should take reasonable measures to prevent theft or diversion of your industrial hemp plants and seed and cooperate with law enforcement if necessary. Licensees that fail to pay their invoiced fees or submit their required reports for the previous growing season may have their license suspended, and will not have their registration approved to grow in the following year.
What type of convictions disqualify me in the background check?
An applicant or an operations manager may not have a conviction for a criminal violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act under Chapter 961, or any controlled substances law of another State. If you are unsure if your conviction violates this standard, please check with an attorney.
What do you mean by a research plan?
After a 70-year absence from Wisconsin's agricultural landscape, industrial hemp is considered a new crop here. Research topics may include planting, harvesting and processing techniques; seed varieties; nutrient requirements; markets; storage; non-chemical pest and weed control; or other topics that participants choose. A concise research plan may be submitted on the forms provided by DATCP, or a more detailed plan may be attached.
What do I do with the research plan?
You will use it as your guide to gather and record your findings. DATCP will supply forms for reporting agronomic data and research results, so you will need to gather this data throughout the growing season and report your research findings every year. DATCP will prepare an annual summary report of all research conducted as part of the program, so everyone can benefit from the information. We will not register you for succeeding seasons if you have not filled out your reports.
How do you know my crop's THC content?
Participants must notify DATCP 30 days before they want to harvest. A DATCP inspector will sample each field and variety grown and deliver the samples to the laboratory for analysis.
What method do you use to test THC?
The method used is called high-performance liquid chromotography, or HPLC and they test for delta-9 Total THC using the formula: d9-THC + 0.877*THCA. This method or a similar one that uses decarboxylation is required under the 2018 Farm Bill for state departments of agriculture that want their hemp regulatory plans approved by USDA. DATCP will invoice the grower for the cost of sampling and testing. Growers may not move their industrial hemp crop to a processor or sell it to a consumer until it has been tested by DATCP and a fit-for-commerce certificate is issued. All plants must be either harvested or destroyed within 10 days after receiving sample results.
What if my plants test over 0.3% THC?
You may request a re-test within 10 days of receiving your sample results. DATCP would collect another sample and send it to the laboratory again for HPLC analysis. You would pay the cost for both resampling and retest. If you decline resampling and retesting, or if your hemp samples test high again, you are required to destroy your crop within 10 days. Wisconsin State Law provides protection from criminal penalties to growers whose plants test no more than 1% - up to 0.7% points above the 0.3% THC limit. Growers who plant certified seed are protected from criminal penalties regardless of THC levels.
Do you require post-harvest testing?
DATCP currently does not require post-harvest testing or product testing. Processors and manufacturers may require testing. Regardless of testing, all hemp and hemp products must meet the legal definition of hemp.
Can I grow industrial hemp in a greenhouse?
Yes, you can grow in a greenhouse as long as you clearly indicate your research goals and production methods on your application.
Can I grow industrial hemp in my residence?
No, you may not grow industrial hemp -- except to start seedlings -- in your residence, including your basement or any other indoor area within your residence.
Can I grow industrial hemp near a school, a town or a major road? Are there restrictions of where I can grow it?
Industrial hemp should be grown in traditional agricultural fields or greenhouses. If you want to grow industrial hemp in a location that is not an agricultural field or greenhouse, you must seek and receive approval for that location from DATCP prior to planting. DATCP will not otherwise restrict industrial hemp production locations, but you may be subject to township or city zoning rules prohibiting industrial hemp in certain locations, including backyards in residential neighborhoods. DATCP does not track these local rules. You are responsible for knowing and complying with them.
Can I change my field locations or add a growing site?
If you want to change field locations, you must amend your license, submit a license modification fee and provide new GPS coordinates. DATCP has the discretion to waive the license amendment fees for field location change that are required due to unforeseen or extenuating circumstances, such as flooding.
Is there a minimum acreage requirement?
While DATCP does not require a minimum acreage, growers must have a minimum of 15 plants available for a pre-harvest regulatory sample at the end of the growing season.
Do I need to build a fence or put up signs around my field?
If you are concerned with trespassing or vandalism if your crop is mistaken for marijuana, you may post signs identifying it as industrial hemp, but it is not required. Also if your industrial hemp field is less than 1 acre, you may want to post signage to help local law enforcement indentify it as part of the program.
Do I need to notify the sheriff/local police or does DATCP do it?
Many growers do proactively notify their local law enforcement about their hemp fields and processing locations. However, once you are register your hemp fields with DATCP, they will share your field location and contact information with local law enforcement upon their request. For this reason, it is essential that you provide accurate field location information and maps and keep DATCP updated if you need to change growing, storage or processing locations. This saves the grower and the processor from unwanted attention and saves law enforcement time and money on unneccesary investigations. Make sure all locations where hemp will be grown, stored or processed are registered with DATCP prior to planting, storing or processing the hemp.
When do you plant industrial hemp?
The ideal seeding time for outdoor industrial hemp production in Wisconsin is from mid-May to mid-June. Soil temperatures should be at least 45-50 degrees F. Industrial hemp likes warm soil. Cold soils and pathogens may kill seedlings if you plant too early.
What type of soil does hemp like?
Hemp can grow in many types of soil, it does particularly well in well-drained soils.
Do you need to fertilize industrial hemp?
Yes, hemp has similar nutrient needs like corn, and especially requires added nitrogen. General guidelines can be found on the CHTA's Hemp Production eGuide.
When do you harvest the hemp?
Generally, crop maturity is 90-120 days after planting, depending on the variety and local climate conditions. Industrial hemp seed is harvested when about 75% of the seeds are ripe and ready to shatter. High winds can accelerate shattering. Bird predation can also be a major problem. The CHTA recommends harvesting at 18-20% moisture, and immediately starting the drying process. Dry grain to 8-10% moisture for storage.
Do deer eat hemp?
Yes, deer browse damage was observed by DATCP in Wisconsin fields by DATCP inspectors in 2018, but it wasn't substantial.
Do I have to be a Wisconsin resident to get a DATCP industrial hemp license?
No, but the land where you grow industrial hemp or the location you process it must be in Wisconsin.
Can I grow hemp under contract with someone else?
Yes, but each individual grower must still be licensed, registered and sign a research agreement and meet the research plan and reporting requirements. The person you are growing for must be a licensed processor.
Do I have to own the land I want to grow hemp on?
No, you can grow hemp on rented land as long as the landowner consents and understands that we will perform routine inspections and plant sampling in the fields. If you plant hemp on rented land, you must provide the landowner's name and contact information.
What if I can't or don't want to sell my hemp at the end of the growing season?
If you are unwilling or unable to sell your industrial hemp at the end of the growing season, you have several options. You can request permission from DATCP to destroy your crop and burn it, plow it under or compost it. If it has tested at 0.3% THC or lower, you may bale it and store it on your farm. Your year-end report to DATCP must include final disposition of your industrial hemp crop.
Can I mix my varieties in one field or growing location?
No. DATCP hemp inspectors are required to sample each variety as it grows at each location. If you are mixing our varieties in a field, you could end up wiht many more or fewer Fit for Commerce Certificates than you anticipated. Separate each plot of hemp so that all the plants in one plot are the same variety. In the plot (one variety at one growing location), clearly mark the edges of each plot and clearly label the variety of hemp in that plot.
What is certified seed?
Certified seed is seed whose producer has submittted their seed to inspection/testing to prove its variety purity and its sound mechanical quality. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association (WCIA) is designated as the official seed certifying agency in Wisconsin.
Does DATCP have a list of approved laboratories that can provide THC and cannabinoid testing?
DATCP does not currently certify or approve laboratories that can provide cannabis testing.
Can I send my hemp sample to a private laboratory to avoid the cost of the DATCP testing?
No. Growers must have their hemp crop sampled by DATCP hemp inspection staff and tested by the DATCP's regulatory lab before harvest. Growers and processors can use private laboratories for addtional pre- or post-harvest testing needs. The regulatory sample cannot be taken by anyone other than the DATCP hemp inspection staff and the regulatory testing cannot be done by a private lab.
Where can I buy hemp seed or clones?
Seeds and clones are available from multiple domestic and international sources. You can order seed or clones after you receive your license and submit your annual registration form and fee. You must transport and store seeds or clones in a secure manner. We recommend pruchasing certified seed for grain and fiber varieties as the best option for quality germination rates and best protection against high THC levels. Please note that the DATCP Approved Hemp CBD Varieties are approved to be planted in Wisconsin. Those who plant these approved CBD Varieties are not provided with protection from criminal prosection if their crop were to test at about 1% Total delta-9 THC. Even if your CBD variety is on the list of CBD varieties approved by DATCP, there is no guarantee that your crop will pass the regulatory THC test.