John Roulac, founder and CEO of hemp superfoods brand Nutiva, plans to announce that he will buy all the organic hemp Kentucky can produce, according to a news release from the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation and Atalo Holdings.
Roulac plans to make the announcement at GoOrganic!, a seminar on organic agronomics Feb. 29 at the Hemp Research Campus in Winchester.
“Demand for certified organic foods is growing. We look forward to sourcing organic hemp from Kentucky farmers,” Roulac said.
The transition to organic farming methods can take 2 to 5 years, and Roulac is encouraging farmers to prepare now, although the USDA has instructed its National Organic Program’s accredited certifying agents to not certify organically grown hemp.
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“Organic certification of industrial hemp production at this time is premature and could be misleading to certified organic operations, given that the legality of the various uses of this product has not yet been determined,” according to the USDA.
Annie Rouse, executive director of the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation, sees opportunity despite this ruling.
“The USDA’s new rule is out of step with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill, which authorizes industrial hemp research in states with a regulatory program. Part of that research is to identify which varieties grow and produce the best hemp in organic soils,” Rouse said.
The GoOrganic! seminar will bring organic farmers and certification experts together to educate growers on transitioning to organics and organic farming methods as well as the current certification process for crops other than hemp, Rouse said.
“By the time Kentucky’s organic crop is ready for market, we anticipate the USDA policy will be revised or another certification authority will be in place,” she said.