Thanks to ABLE CBD co-founder, Bill Ekeler for his passionate work with the Bish Brothers and this great piece published on the U.S. HEMP ROUNDTABLE.
On the heels of the passing the 2018 Farm Bill, many Midwestern states struggle to understand, identify, and move forward to embrace the outstanding economic opportunity that growing hemp presents. Nebraska’s slow progress towards appropriate hemp legislation may cost the state hundreds of millions in future revenues. Although the federal Farm Bill is clear, the anxiety and lack of education surrounding hemp as related to many key lawmakers and stakeholders in the midwestern state is concerning. Many other states recognize this unique agricultural opportunity, however, states like Nebraska remain cautious and slow to implement meaningful change that could benefit agriculture in the state NOW.
So where does NEBRASKA sit today? Two key bills were introduced into the legislature. The first by Senator Lathrop, LB 457, which is critical as it would decriminalize hemp and remove it from the restricted substance list. This bill has been through committee and hearings with no opposition and should clearly be prioritized and passed NOW, should Nebraska farmers hope to enter this market during this growing season. Additionally, Senator Wayne has introduced LB657 which would establish the agricultural program to grow in the state. This bill was also met with no opposition and great support from very well educated and knowledgeable people. If Nebraska Farmers are to get in on the cutting edge of this industry, the time to pass this bill is also NOW. Delays on passage will present a major setback as literally millions of investment and economic development dollars are moving to states that are taking a lead role by passing clear, fair and pro-hemp legislation.
Why then are two critical agricultural related bills not being pushed to the front and being passed in an attempt to provide an opportunity for Nebraska farmers? That is a great question. With support from the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Farmers Union, the Nebraska Cattleman, and others, and with no opposition, what is holding this up? Furthermore, there is broad support, both democratic and republican, it is simply perplexing. In a state where the governor claims to be all about economic development and opportunity, why is there not leadership to capitalize on this opportunity?
The governor’s recent radio address might hold some of the answers, where Governor Ricketts said that Nebraska farmers will not be able to grow hemp until 2020 at the soonest, blaming the time it would take to create the very simple and straight forward regulations (despite low-complexity of the task) required as per the 2018 Farm Bill.
The reality is, there are seed companies willing to work to develop national leadership in this area. Equipment manufacturers like Bish Enterprises lead the hemp industry and are unable to demonstrate the product in their own state. Processors of biomass for fiber and oil want to invest their dollars in states who are taking a lead role and understand the opportunity. Extractors look for a product from US sourced seed, a critical component to developing an industry to erase our multi-million-dollar net negative trade numbers on hemp.
Nebraska, once a leader in hemp production and processing, now sits and waits for those key decision makers to educate themselves to take advantage of potentially the greatest agricultural opportunity of our time. Educate yourself and contact your lawmakers and representatives. Ensure that all hard-working Nebraska Farmers and associated agricultural businesses are afforded the opportunity to be leaders in an agricultural movement that likely will not present itself again in modern times. Get involved and help show the world what Nebraska can do when educated and aligned with sensible laws and policies that help us maximize the opportunities presented in the 2018 Farm Bill.
How do I get involved? Educate yourself, contact local lawmakers and representatives. The list below is listed in order of those who NEED to be contacted and made aware of your support!
Nebraska Government Contacts:
Governor Pete Ricketts:
Attorney General Doug Peterson:
Department of Ag.:
Nebraska State Representatives:
Nebraska Farm Bureau:
Nebraska Farmers Union:
U.S. Hemp Roundtable: https://hempsupporter.com/
Vote Hemp: https://www.votehemp.com/
Bill Ekeler – Able CBD
Jacob Bish – Bish Enterprises / Hemp Harvest Works
Andrew Bish – Bish Enterprises / Hemp Harvest Works