Seneca Nation Receives USDA Approval for Hemp Production Plan

Hemp Plants in Field
  • The Seneca Nation, based in Salamanca, NY, has received USDA approval for their hemp production plan.
  • The Hemp Ordinance put in place allows the Seneca Nation to control their regulations and production within Seneca Territory.
  • The USDA has now approved the hemp production plan for 17 tribes.

In an attempt to rejuvenate agriculture, the Seneca Nation has put together a hemp production plan that was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 30th. The Seneca Nation Hemp Production Ordinance was approved at the Regular Session of Council on April 11th.

This is a huge step forward for the Seneca Nation and for their lands. Their Hemp Ordinance covers all aspects associated with hemp production, including growing, handling, storing, and marketing. Individuals and businesses may apply for licenses on Seneca Territory, and will be required to follow set guidelines that are intended to protect the soil, water, and air quality.

“This means the Seneca Nation has primary regulatory responsibility over the production of hemp on Seneca Territory,” stated Jessica Crouse, the hemp compliance administrator for the Nation.

“Outside of our territory, it is in the realm of the respective state or federal jurisdiction,” Crouse added.

The Seneca Nation has been working on putting together a hemp production plan since early last year. Crouse mentioned that their plan was approved in March when the USDA also approved the plans for the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The USDA has approved hemp plans for a total of 17 tribes so far.

“They were great to work with and communication was key ensuring the concerns of the Seneca Nation were addressed. I had the honor and privilege to attend a USDA Tribal Listening Session in Las Vegas, and it was great to connect and learn from other nations about how they envision their programs going forward,” Crouse stated.

Crouse hopes that people will make an effort to educate themselves on the benefits of industrial hemp. Meanwhile, the Senecas have already been working toward developing their hemp program by constantly providing feedback on the program and the ways that it can be improved.

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