USDA approves South Dakota's industrial hemp plan

Rebekah Tuchscherer

South Dakota farmers will be able to plant hemp in the 2021 growing season, thanks to approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 16.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture submitted its industrial hemp plan to the USDA in early August. As soon as emergency administrative rules to establish the program are in place, hemp processor and grower license applications will open.

“I am excited the (state agriculture department) has an approved plan and am looking forward to working with industrial hemp producers and processors in South Dakota,” Derek Schiefelbein, the department’s industrial hemp program manager said.

The industrial hemp bill passed during the 2020 legislative session after becoming a battle between Gov. Kristi Noem and the state Legislature in 2019. Noem opposed legalizing industrial hemp, saying it could open the door for legalized marijuana, whereas legislators supported it as another possible option revenue for farmers. The industrial hemp bill was one of the final bills to pass during the 2020 session.

South Dakota’s plan is online at and will be updated with new information as soon as it’s available. Applications for processor and grower licenses will be on the agriculture department’s website - - as soon the rules take effect.

Farmers deliver raw hemp biomass, dried to 10% moisture, to Prairie Products in Fargo, N.D. The company uses 190-proof denatured ethanol to remove CBD oil.