MANHATTAN, Kan. — Industrial hemp is the new buzzword in Kansas agriculture, but the message is clear: No hemp or hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, are currently approved for use in animal feed, including pet food.
That was the word from Kansas Department of Agriculture officials during a May 23 webinar with K-State Research and Extension agents and specialists.
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also referred to as the Farm Bill, expanded production opportunities for growing hemp across the country. This year is the first year it’s legal to grow it in Kansas but only within research programs outlined by the Farm Bill.
KDA has developed the Kansas industrial hemp research program, which offers potential for diversification for Kansas farmers looking for an alternative crop or for new farming enterprises, according to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam.
“The Kansas agriculture industry is committed to pursuing new and innovative opportunities to grow agriculture,” he said, “and the research generated by participants of this new industrial hemp research program will be valuable data in identifying the growth potential offered in this sector.”
Industrial hemp can be used in various products including paper, biodegradable plastics, and construction materials.
Two agencies regulate feed and feed ingredients in Kansas – the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, said Ken Bowers, feed technical director with the KDA Dairy and Feed Safety Program.
Bowers said feed ingredients used in animal feed in the United States undergo a scientific review by the company that is proposing the ingredient. The company submits the review through one of several avenues for approval, but to date, no hemp or hemp-derived products have been approved. The regulations are designed to keep animals and humans safe.
“That’s the only way to get a legal, approved ingredient,” he said.
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine has safety concerns that must be addressed through scientific studies regarding Tetrahydrocannabinol THC and CBD. These concerns and scientific studies have not been addressed yet by industry, Bowers said.
Extension educators around the state have been fielding questions about whether hemp or hemp-derived products can be used as feed ingredients, said Justin Waggoner, beef cattle specialist with K-State Research and Extension and webinar coordinator.
“It’s really important that our stakeholders are knowledgeable on industrial hemp and what can and can’t be done with it in the state of Kansas,” said Dana Ladner, KDA compliance education coordinator, during the webinar.
More information is available on the Kansas Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Program website and on the K-State Research and Extension Industrial Hemp information page. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture also has a resource page.