Iowa’s Hemp Act Approved by USDA, Iowa Farmers Can Grow Hemp in 2020 Growing Season

Jun 01, 2020

Hemp production may usher in a whole new industry in Iowa, with impacts reaching far beyond the producers and manufacturers of the crop. As an organization that works to drive economic growth, supporting pro-growth business regulations, as well as clarity on state regulations on hemp-derived products as permitted by federal law is part of our 2020 Strategic Plan.

On March 20, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Iowa’s Hemp Act, which had been passed by the Iowa legislature and signed into law by Governor Reynolds in 2019. The Iowa Hemp Act developed Iowa’s plan for licensed farmers to grow up to 40 acres of industrial hemp for products including rope, paper, food and oils.

Iowa Farmers Can Apply to Grow Hemp

Iowa’s plan had to be approved by the federal government to be able to move forward. Now that it has been approved, farmers can apply for a license to grow hemp during the 2020 growing season. Growers are being advised to do their research and confirm there is a viable, profitable market for commercial hemp production before they make an investment in seed and equipment. All questions about applying for a hemp license or seed permit should be directed to or (515) 725-1470.

USDA Approval is Not a Free For All on CBD Use

Iowa’s commercial hemp production program does not legalize the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for human and animal consumption in food and drinks, extraction, or processing in Iowa. Hemp-derived CBD extract products may be sold, however, these products:

- Cannot be added to human or animal foods and drinks for retail;

- Cannot be labeled a dietary supplement;

- Cannot be labeled as a medication.

Non-consumable products containing hemp-CBD such as lotions, shampoo and lip balm may be sold, however, the processing of hemp-derived and CBD products is still unclear at this time.

As the Iowa Hemp Act was silent on processing, there is no clear path to address this at this time. There is a bill pending in the Iowa legislature that sets up a licensing requirement and procedure for processors, but until it is signed into law, this industry remains unclear. When the legislature reconvenes for the session, we will focus on pushing this bill forward and gaining further clarity on this industry opportunity for our region.

To learn more about the USDA approved hemp plan, and what it means for Iowa visit and select Iowa Hemp Administrative Rule.

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