I am so excited that the Illinois Department of Agriculture is now drafting rules for the historic Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which passed this summer.
I am among those anxious to get acquainted with this versatile crop. As a first-generation farmer, a business owner, and a citizen concerned with the ramifications that intensive farming has had on our environment and health, I am rooting for this misunderstood and stigmatized plant to make a comeback.
Many of us following hemp closely expected draft rules and regulations by now. We're counting on Governor-elect JB Pritzker to make the state licensing program for industrial hemp production a priority in his first 100 days in Springfield.
With a new committee set to focus on policies that will help agriculture and rural communities thrive, Pritzker's Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee has a unique opportunity to do just that with hemp as an ally.
We can all play a role in pushing this historic legislation by writing to our state legislators to thank them for supporting hemp (it passed nearly unanimously), and to ask that s/he checks in with the Illinois Dept of Agriculture to make sure that rules are in the works.
Illinois has a lot to gain from hemp cultivation and we need urgency and cooperation to get rules finalized and a permit process in place in time for May planting. Let's help farmers get seeds in the ground so we can grow, build, and create new jobs in 2019.