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.
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.
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.