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Farmers can apply Jan. 1 to grow hemp in 2021

The state’s Hemp Farming Program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 265 farmers in 2020.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina farmers interested in growing hemp in 2021 can apply for a permit beginning Jan. 1.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) will accept applications for hemp farming permits for the 2021 growing season from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2021.

The state’s Hemp Farming Program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 265 farmers in 2020 – and each year, the program has changed as state and federal laws changed. 

When the federal government approved South Carolina’s State Hemp Plan in April 2020, the program entered a new period of regulatory stability, one that SCDA expects to continue in 2021. The agency now has six full-time staffers devoted to hemp regulation.

RELATED: No cap on 2020 hemp farming season in SC

Anyone interested in potentially growing, processing, or handling hemp in South Carolina may view the 2020 Farmer Orientation presentation to get a full overview of the program. This orientation is also a component of the Grower application process itself and a requirement for permitting.

Requirements to receive a hemp farming permit include:

  • Proof of South Carolina residency
  • Criminal background check (A new check is required each permit year.)
  • FSA (Farm Service Agency) farm number
  • $100 nonrefundable application fee and $1,000 permit fee
  • GPS coordinates of all locations on which hemp will be grown
  • Submitting application and all required materials by the February 28, 2021 deadline
  • Attending an SCDA orientation and signing a Hemp Farming Agreement before possessing any hemp, including clones and seeds

All farmers must apply through SCDA’s online portal at agriculture.sc.gov/hemp

RELATED: South Carolina looks to weed its way into hemp farming boom

Permits are only good for the current year, so 2020 permit holders who wish to farm in 2021 must apply for a new permit. SCDA will not award a 2020 farmer a 2021 permit unless he or she has reported his or her 2020 hemp acreage to the FSA by the 2021 application deadline.

For information about the South Carolina Hemp Farming Program, visit agriculture.sc.gov/hemp or email hempstaff@scda.sc.gov.