MORGANTOWN, W. Va.– Senator Bob Beach, candidate for West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, is promising changes to current Industrial Hemp Rules should he be elected, according to a recent news release from his campaign.
Beach sees a missed opportunity for West Virginia as the state struggles to reap the rewards of this growing segment of the national agri-economy.
He says, “Since 2018, the hemp industry has seen significant growth following the implementation of the Federal Farm bill. Forward-thinking states have adopted rules to encourage the use of fallow acres, while West Virginia has taken a more restrictive and inept approach, primarily creating hurdles to prevent lease agreements. As a case in point, West Virginia currently places a burden on landowners to have background checks prior to leasing to hemp farmers, unlike Virginia, which simply asks a land owner if she or he has ever been convicted of a felony. West Virginia maintains that a full background check is needed for both landowner and farmer alike.”
Beach seeks to streamline the process and mirror the preliminary request to that of Virginia — “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
Secondly, Beach intends to focus on getting tests processed more timely and efficiently. He observes, “Time and time again we hear stories of plant testing being delayed for numerous reasons, which leads to test results exceeding the federal THC level of 0.03%, thus forcing entire fields to be destroyed. Furthermore, farmers lack the ability to appeal the decision of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture beyond the one-person Review Board. To date not one of the farmers has been successful in overturning the original decision mandating destruction of their crop.”
Yet, he argues, “It’s not too late, West Virginia can still be a significant hemp player within a global arena. Hemp is a multi-billion dollar industry, with innovative value-added product ideas coming to light with each passing day. We just need someone to lead the charge, rather than an anchor holding us back.”
Beach adds. “I will establish a no-excuse policy. If you need assistance, we’re there for you. Need your field tested? Consider it done.” He concludes,”One apparent problem is labor to conduct testing. This can be readily addressed simply by employing seasonal interim employees to retrieve samples. Many retirees look for part-time employment. What a great way to be outside during nice weather, and supplement your income.”
Courtesy article. It has been lightly edited for style and grammar usage. Bob Beach is a West Virginia State Senator representing District 13 . He is the Democratic candidate for West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture.
Additional articles on Industrial Hemp from the Appalachian Chronicle