Hemp One Step Closer to Being Added as Animal Feed in U.S.

Group of Chickens
  • The Hemp Feed Coalition (HFC) has completed its first submission that would allow for hemp and its byproducts to become approved as commercial animal feed and nutrition.
  • U.S. regulators have contemplated this ruling in the past, but have quoted a lack of information as the primary roadblock.
  • The HFC and other members of the hemp community have been submitting certificates of analysis for their crops to help demonstrate the consistency in which hempseed cake and meal is produced and processed.

The Hemp Feed Coalition (HFC), a Fort Collins, Colorado-based nonprofit group, has been seeking federal approval that would allow for hemp and its byproducts to be considered a source of commercial animal feed and nutrition. And now, they have taken actionable next steps that may allow this to become a reality for the hemp industry.

The HFC has fully completed its first submission for hemp and its byproducts to become approved as an animal-feed ingredient to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. 

If this submission is approved, hemp seed meal and cake will be legal to be used as commercial feed for laying hens.

During the 2021 World Ag Expo, HFC Executive Director Hunter Buffington said:

“One of the big opportunities for us as an industry, and one of the best ways that we can support our farmers in those ancillary markets, like our livestock producers, is by commoditizing those very nutritious and valuable byproducts that come out of the production and processing of hemp.”

U.S. regulators say they simply lack informative data surrounding hemp and using it as animal feed, despite other parts of the world having used this method for decades.

In an attempt to meet these standards that the FDA-CVM upholds, members of the hemp industry from across the country have been submitting certificates of analysis for their crops. This helped to demonstrate that the hempseed cake and meal is capable of being produced and processed consistently.

“It really is going to take a concerted effort to not only understand the ingredient profile, to answer all the questions that FDA-CVM has about the ingredient itself, but then we also have to conduct clinical feed trials to show safety and efficacy for these products as well,” Buffington said.

Late last year, researchers at Oregon State University began conducting an experiment to study the effects that hemp biomass has on the meat of sheep who primarily feed on it. The experiment was set to take place over the course of 8 weeks, and the results were aimed to help support the argument for using hemp as livestock feed.

As the U.S. laws currently stand, humans are allowed to consume made from hemp; however, we can’t legally eat any byproducts from animals that have been fed hemp.



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