Kansas walks back state bill allowing hemp in animal feed

A new version of the bill would slash licensing fees for hemp producers, but would not legalize feeding hemp to animals.

Hemp Seed Oil
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Kansas lawmakers are no longer considering a bill to legalize hemp in animal feed, but a hemp processor in the state says it still sees the growing consensus around reduced hemp licensing fees as a win.

Substitute House Bill 2168 would cut hemp licensing fees from more than US$1,000, to a maximum of US$500 per year. It replaces a bill introduced in 2023 that would have legalized hemp in animal feed but, unlike that bill, has proven less controversial with Kansas lawmakers, said Sarah Stephens, CEO of hemp processor Midwest Hemp Technology from Augusta, Kansas.

The bill passed the Kansas House of Representatives 105-6 on February 14 and has advanced to the Senate for consideration.

The bill may not contain everything the Kansas hemp industry would like to see, Stephens said, but she sees the growing consensus around licensing fees as a positive sign. The current fee schedule costs her $1,300 to $1,400 per year — more than twice the cap proposed by HB2168.

“This is my sixth year to get licensed, so I have spent a lot of money on licensing,” Stephens said.

Stephens also noted that, under HB2168, Kansas would adopt federal rules regarding feeding hemp to animals. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is expected to vote on an application to permit hemp seed meal in layer diets later this year; AAFCO members are expected to approve the application.

If the vote goes as expected, sales of hemp seed meal to poultry producers could begin shortly thereafter, with lower registration fees for hemp producers potentially beginning in early 2025.

“The pending application is a huge domino, and I think it will open up all sorts of animal feed lanes once that happens,” Stephens said.

“Last year, we didn't see any progress, so this does feel like progress and it feels like the (Kansas Department of Agriculture) telling the industry we want this to work,” Stephens continued. “And farmers need to hear that from regulators in order to see it as a viable crop.”

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