Tester Secures Nearly $165,000 to Research Hemp and Establish Canadian Hemp Markets

Funds will help Montana Department of Agriculture research alternative hemp products, markets, and modes of production at MSU, research establishing Canadian hemp markets

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $164,480 in grants to fund hemp research at Montana State University and organize a hemp trade team within the Montana Department of Agriculture to establish Canadian hemp markets. The funds include a $79,217 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $85,263 matching grant from the Montana Governor’s Office.

“Montana’s farmers are the best in the world, and we need to provide them with more tools and resources to grow their businesses,” Tester said. “These investments are going to help our producers with cutting-edge research and new markets that will allow them to develop new, innovative products and create jobs across our state.”

These investments will allow the Montana Department of Agriculture to research alternative products, markets, and processes for hemp production, increasing acreage and providing farmers with alternatives to selling hemp for cannabidiol (CBD). This project will engage interdisciplinary teams of students at Montana State University in the “Innovative Ideation: Hemp, the Next Frontier” course, which focuses on the development of new hemp products. Additionally, a trade team will be organized at the Montana Department of Agriculture to research harvest and postharvest management techniques and study establishing new Canadian hemp markets. Throughout the project, the two groups will meet with the intent of developing a guide to support farmers in entering the hemp business.

Earlier this month, Tester announced that federally insured credit unions may now provide financial services to legally operating hemp businesses and farmers under a new guidance published by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This decision came after months of efforts by Tester to reduce burdensome regulations and provide clarity for Montana hemp producers, and it was the first time a federal regulator explicitly clarified that hemp producers and businesses can access financial services.

Tester also successfully pushed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to update their hemp guidance to allow Montana producers to purchase hemp seeds from Canada earlier this spring. Prior to Tester’s efforts, farmers were not allowed to purchase hemp seeds.