The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is doubling the number of permits and the acreage allowance for industrial hemp – from 20 to 40 – under the state’s pilot program, according to a WTOC report. The permits will also allow farmers to grow 40 acres of hemp, up from 20 acres.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a South Carolina resident;
  • Pass a state and federal background check;
  • Have a signed contract with an industrial hemp manufacturer processor;
  • Submit GPS coordinates where the crops will be cultivated

Results from last year’s crop aren’t yet known as farmers will begin harvesting in June, according to Department of Agriculture Director of Communications Sally McKay; however, she said that farmers are already reaching out to the agency for next year.

“Prospective growers throughout the state are eager to join the program even without knowing exactly where it’s going to grow best.” – McKay to WTOC

Last year all 20 available spots in the program were filled throughout 15 counties. According to state Department of Agriculture data, 14 farmers grew the total 20 acres allowed by their permit, while two farmers came close, growing 19.95 acres and 19.54 acres. One farm grew 18.43 acres, while the remaining two grew 5.46 and 5.97. The 20 permit recipients were chosen from 131 applications.

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