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NIHC and HCANN-CR Enter MOU to Advance the Brand of Hemp Throughout the Americas

Date: 13 January 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC) and the Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council (HCANN-CR) announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on issues including improving the quality of hemp research, marketing, networking, and consumer protection services to strengthen and advance the brand of hemp in the global marketplace.

As NIHC continues to increase our global footprint, partnering with HCANN-CR presents a tremendous opportunity to promote American hemp in the Western Hemisphere,” said Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council of America. “Working directly with our colleagues in Costa Rica will be a value add for American hemp producers with additional research opportunities and brand promotion to promote the hemp economy in both countries.”

“This alliance enhances the historical commercial partnership between the United States of America and Costa Rica,” said Roy Thompson, Chairman of HCANN-CR. “The global hemp industry can help create thousands of jobs in Costa Rica, generating economic and social benefits for our population and the access to better and safer products for the consumers around the world. We recognize the American hemp industry as a global leader in technology, standards, and the importance of the environment as a priority.  We are united by history, commerce, and values. We celebrate this agreement with great excitement.”

HCANN-CR and NIHC intend to strengthen the relationships between the organizations to improve the quality of hemp research, marketing, networking, and consumer protection services to advance the brand of hemp domestically and internationally. Together, they hope to identify and seek funding opportunities through numerous private, non-profit, and governmental organizations to increase the quality of industrial hemp research guiding public policy in both countries.

NIHC already participates with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Market Access Program (MAP) and has written a unified export strategy for the markets of Europe and Asia. While the agreement announced today between the two parties is not part of a cooperative agreement with the MAP program, NIHC can nonetheless rely on experiences in working with foreign governments overseas and utilize best practices in the international marketplace to develop more networking opportunities and open further markets in Costa Rica for hemp producers in the United States.

The Costa Rican government recently approved the cultivation, processing, storage and transportation of cannabis production including industrial hemp. The new Costa Rican law does not allow for the recreational use of higher-THC cannabis.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council of America: The National Industrial Hemp Council of America provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information, please go to www.nihcoa.com.

About the Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council: The Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council (HCANN-CR) was established by a team of global industry leaders in cannabis and global policy. HCANN-CR members represent a variety of sectors within the hemp and medical marijuana industry including growers and farmers, suppliers and equipment, processing and extraction, laboratory testing, professional services, manufacturers, wholesale and retail, medical professionals, and consumers. For more information, please go to www.hcann-cr.com.

NIHC Hears from Hemp Champions on Capitol Hill

Date: 1 December 2021

NIHC Hears from Hemp Champions on Capitol Hill

The National Industrial Hemp Council’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit day two started off with Courtney Moran, the President of the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (OIHFA) who introduced one of our featured speakers, Congressman Kurt Schrader. Attendees heard an update from Congressman Schrader on everything that was happening in Congress, but he drilled down on his legislation, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act (H.R. 841) that will allow CBD and other hemp-derived products to be lawfully used in dietary supplements. NIHC has met with and expressed our support to Congressman Schrader several times and he thanked NIHC for its support of his legislation.

Later in the morning, NIHC was pleased to hear an update from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) who has two bills in the Senate that would address the logjam at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). His bipartisan bill, the Hemp Access, and Consumer Safety Act with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) would go a step further than Congressman Schrader’s bill by including CBD as an ingredient in both dietary supplements and food. Attendees heard Senator Wyden explain that the FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD despite the 2018 Farm Bill which removed hemp from the list of controlled substances.

Senator Wyden also spoke about the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act that he introduced alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Corey Book (D-NJ) that would provide a pathway for the use of CBD in dietary supplements while addressing the numerous social inequality issues around cannabis and cannabis use.

“Congress says hemp and hemp-derived CBD are not illegal substances, but the FDA somehow just keeps on merrily treating it that way,” Wyden said.

FDA Addresses NIHC

Senator Wyden’s comments were the perfect segue as attendees heard next directly from Grail Sipes, who is the Acting Chair of FDA’s Cannabis Products Committee. This wasn’t the first time the FDA has addressed an NIHC meeting. You may recall the FDA has some of its senior leaders address the 2019 NIHC meeting in Portland, Oregon. But now, we’re in a different time with a new party in control of Washington.

“We continue to underscore the need for evidence to support the science, safety profile and quality of CBD and cannabis-derived products,” Sipes said.

While many in our industry may agree to disagree, the one thing that we can all agree on is that as an industry, we must have regulatory certainty to continuing growing our industry.

Sipes also made news by announcing at the NIHC Hemp Business Summit that FDA was conducting a two-phase CBD market survey on the accuracy of CBD products to evaluate if they really contain what the label indicates. A large party of the NIHC mission is to be partners in enhancing consumer safety, and we feel the same way. There is too much misinformation and inaccurate claims being made by bad actors in our industry and there continues to be independent third-party groups testing CBD products finding errors in labeling. That’s why NIHC announced at our meeting the launch of an effort to ensure accuracy in labeling. We look to partner with industry stakeholders and eventually to have an NIHC certified logo on products being sold in stores and online.

In our announcement, we wrote:

NIHC believes in establishing an accurate, consistent testing regime. This label will bring value to the marketplace and integrity to products sold nationwide in stores and online. NIHC is exploring testing standards and third-party verification laboratory requirements that will be applicable when testing for potency, pesticides, metals, terpenes, and other product attributes. A critical part of the program will include using third-party accreditation bodies to verify that laboratories are following the appropriate testing protocols and properly calibrating their equipment, and that those running the tests are properly trained. 

USDA Also Addresses NIHC

The NIHC attendees also heard from a panel on USDA regulations which featured Bill Richmond, Chief of USDA’s hemp program. He was joined on stage by former Agriculture Marketing Service Deputy Administrator and current Food Safety Net Service executive and NIHC Board member Barry Carpenter. Rounding out the panel was Santa Fe Farms Vice President of Advocacy Hunter Buffington.

There is no shortage of items for USDA to address on behalf of the hemp industry and our panel moderator Rick Fox, NIHC’s Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair, moderated a panel that could have addressed even more issues, but unfortunately only had an hour to get through the many important issues in the USDA’s final rule on domestic hemp production. During his remarks, Richmond announced the new Hemp Enterprise Monitoring Program (HEMP) at USDA that will be an effort by USDA to capture production data and a way to monitor licensee information.

Carpenter for his part drew a parallel between the hemp industry and the organic program when that program was in its infancy at USDA. Carpenter noted that when the USDA adopted its organic program, that it was done to provide the maximum amount of flexibility to the industry as possible as they sought to grow and expand market access – particularly internationally – for organic products.

Importance of Communicating About Hemp

Hemp Business Summit attendees also heard from Global Branding Expert of GT&I Glenn Tarr who talked about the need to speak with a unified voice to promote U.S.-based hemp in the global economy. As Founder and Creative Director of GT&I, Glenn spoke to attendees about the importance of raising awareness of NIHC as a global leader in the hemp industry and that means getting away from the use of the cannabis leaf that is all too often associated with higher THC cannabis. In doing so, Tarr told attendees NIHC can help lead the effort by communicating all the positive attributes of the hemp plant including its numerous industrial applications and ability to sequester carbon; and change the narrative that hemp is just another word for an intoxicating substance.

Economic Update – And Plenty of Data to Share

NIHC Chief Economist Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics closed out the Summit with an engaging economic update.

Whitney noted that cannabis production is now legal in 65 countries and that U.S. government inaction is hurting U.S. global competitiveness. Despite that inaction, U.S. hemp still accounts for 25 percent of the world’s hemp market.

Whitney says there has been an increase of 575% of cultivation capacity in the U.S. but that the lack of buyers, particularly in the manufacturing sector, has led to an excess of inventories and with it, a sharp decline in prices. He indicates the shifting trend in the hemp industry with cultivation licensees increasing in non-tradition hemp producing states. While traditional hemp states like Kentucky and Colorado still have a place among the states with the most licensees, we’re seeing additional licenses rising in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee rounding out the top ten.

Finally, Whitney closed by noting that capacity is still required in the hemp industry, but not just for CBD flower. He expects that the trend will begin to shift to fiber and grain product in 2022. He also noted that there is no data available for hemp product manufacturing. 

The NIHC 2021 Hemp Business Summit provided the needed intelligence and framework to continue to move the needle on U.S. hemp production and innovation in the coming year. NIHC looks forward to continuing the discussions on many levels to secure the future of the industry.

Empowering Industrial Hemp to Thrive

Date: 1 December 2021

If you missed it, let us catch you up.

The 2021 Hemp Business Summit was a jammed-packed event that included multiple announcements, current hemp data, all-around subject matter expertise and networking. Discussions on both the stage and in the hallways empowered attendees to consider their part to move our industry forward. NIHC is proud to facilitate critical discussions and progressive thought leadership about hemp.

Attendees from across the country converged to create industry partner relationships for their needs and gain insight to overcome current market challenges. In fact, one attendee reported that for their emerging business, they had initiated critical conversations with two large-scale hemp producers, as well as established a better understanding on how to secure funding through the financial presentations. Others reported making connections that will move the needle on their industrial hemp endeavors.

NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi opened the meeting with a vision of unity. “Who is NIHC?” he asked. “We are a broad group of members of varied interests who are all working to build a vibrant global industrial hemp marketplace. We are in this together. We are global.”

With that, Atagi introduced the new NIHC brand look that includes a new logo (seen below), a new website, a new magazine ­– Hemp Industrial™ ­– and other elements, all developed with hemp’s global stage in mind. The new brand and messaging showcase our industry as  sustainable, climate-smart and agriculturally rooted in history looking towards a progressive future. As we move forward, our advocacy efforts at home  establish NIHC as an authoritative voice for hemp on the global stage as we facilitate the international market development for American hemp growers and innovators.

Hemp Business Legal Considerations Continue

The event kicked off with a discussion on the regulatory environments that the industry must navigate, which then led to broader topics on business and opportunity, both short and long term. Representatives from the law firm and a top 2021 Hemp Business Summit sponsor Gordon & Rhees Scully Mansukhani spent time framing the current regulatory landscape from business, commerce, and employment perspectives to help attendees in “reading the hemp leaves” while navigating local, state, and federal directives.

Can We Overcome the Challenges of Banking Hemp?

With that foundation laid, Todd Van Hoose, President and Chief Executive Officer of Farm Credit Council, shared the progress and pain of financial institutions and their hemp policies. “We will stick with the growers, but it is tough,” said Van Hoose. “For lenders, it takes a while to establish guidelines for new lending.”

“Now that there are more frontline standards, bankers can get their processes in order, while managing the risks,” he emphasized.

“I think we need to look at progress made,” says Atagi. “The fact that financial institutions are looking at hemp financing is critical; in 2019, there was not so much opportunity.”

Melissa Marsal, EVP/Chief Operating Officer of West Town Bank & Trust, and Sundie Seefried, President and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Harbor Financial, both presented detailed accounts of what their banks look for in hemp business banking partners. The bottom line: Be open and honest on your business, have a clear vision to accomplish goals, and have consistent business practices. “Hemp is not black and white, and a bank cannot bank what they don’t understand,” said Seefried. Hemp banking is expensive to manage, requires more paperwork to be filed, and takes longer to onboard a client. Therefore, hemp clients can expect to pay higher fees. Yet, with more regulatory certainty, she says this will change.

“What regulators say about high risk, we have to follow,” notes Marsal. Ultimately, she says, “We want to offer anything we offer to other businesses. Our whole mission is for you to have a safe banking experience.”

Academic Experts Speak about the Future of Hemp

Moving into discussion about hemp agriculture, Jay Noller, Director, and lead researcher of Oregon State University’s (OSU) Global Hemp Innovation Center, and Lawrence B. Smart, Professor, Horticulture Section at the Cornell University School of Integrative Plant Science, presented research efforts that are making news. With OSU’s recent $10 million grant to explore Western hemp production, Noller says his center’s job is to “find where the brick walls, are and tear them down, don’t allow them to be built, or work around them.”

Smart spoke on plant research and getting viable feedstock into the hemp system. “A lot of evidence suggests that hemp growth depends a lot on genetics, not environment. Currently, you have to plant 2,000 plants just to get 20 compliant ones.” His research is geared to creating a library of germplasm to adapt hemp plants to grow successfully for breeders.

Hemp’s Sustainability

Steven Gluckstern, CEO & Chairman of Santa Fe Farms gave a presentation titled Sustainability: Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Credits, and the Hemp Industry. Hemp, Gluckstern says, “can be incorporated into thousands of products.” The Santa Fe Farms CEO talked about his vision of a hemp value chain that included human and animal feed, building materials, and paper. While he currently farms 1,000 acres, he told attendees his goal is to eventually farm one million acres. “An acre of hemp will store more carbon than an acre in the rainforest. This industry isn’t an afterthought; the carbon story can change that,” Gluckstern said.  

 

The State Regulatory Environment

Attendees also heard from experts on what is happening with regulations at the state level.  Tillery Sims of the Texas Hemp Growers Association, Blake Butler Executive Director of the Southeast Hemp Association and Courtney Moran, President and Lobbyist for the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association shared about their successes and navigating issues in the states. They discussed interstate commerce, ousting bad actors, engaging with governors and legislators, and cultivating the what is ultimately a decades-long hemp growing process forward. Moran, for her part, said that state regulators should note past successes and failures of neighboring states while making policy changes.

“If you don’t have adequate funding, nothing is going to work,” Moran says of state hemp plans.

Butler addressed the challenges of interstate commerce noting that there have been over 20 seizures of legal hemp in the southeast region. “We’ve won every case,” Butler said, “but we’ve never received the product back.” He also warned the hemp industry is hurting itself, telling attendees, “Regulators and legislators aren’t sure who to listen to. We must get on the same page.”

Panels and speakers on data and cannabis venture capital rounded out the day. Julie Lerner, Founder and CEO of PanXchange reminded the attendees to put the industry in perspective. “We need to have hard conversations of what we specifically want to ask of legislators,” she says.  

Standards and the Future of Hemp

In a bit of NIHC news, the Council is spearheading an initiative to bring to market a set of standards to enhance consumer safety and regulatory confidence. Dr. Matthew Curran, Food Safety Director, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, David Schmidt, Executive Director at AOAC International, Barry Carpenter, Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) and Kathleen May, CEO/Founder, Triskele Quality Solutions & Chair of ASTM’s International-D37-Cannabis Committee spoke on this new plan during the Industry Standards Panel.  

Rounding out the day was a robust discussion about the future of the hemp business and how to go about what NIHC member and Delta Agriculture CEO, George Overbey described as “changing the world with hemp.” “There is a word to shape the future of the industry’s economy and the word is sustainable. We need to take hold of the opportunity that hemp represents, as a promise for our economy and our environment.”

And…that was just day one!

NIHC Announces Effort to Strengthen Testing Standards, Labels for CBD

Date: 16 November 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) announced today, at its 2021 Hemp Business Summit, plans to roll out a pilot program establishing standards for product testing protocols and laboratories. Participants in the program will be able to label products with the NIHC label of approval, ensuring the accuracy of product labeling that will set standards for ingredients, ensure the accuracy of labeling and ultimately, strengthen consumer confidence in the cannabidiol (CBD) products that they’re buying. 

The announcement, made during the standards panel discussion, comes one day before NIHC will hear directly from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Cannabis Product Committee Chair, Grail Sipes, at its meeting tomorrow. 

“We’re excited for this program that we believe is going to strengthen consumer confidence, promote accuracy in labeling and ultimately, protect the brand of hemp,” said Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, consumers have been waiting for the FDA to act on CBD. Without any guidance from the FDA thus far, NIHC is stepping up to develop our own testing standards and labeling protocols that we believe will enhance consumer safety and protect the consumer’s right to know.”

NIHC believes in establishing an accurate, consistent testing regime. This label will bring value to the marketplace and integrity to products sold nationwide in stores and online. NIHC is exploring testing standards and third-party verification laboratory requirements that will be applicable when testing for potency, pesticides, metals, terpenes, and other product attributes. A critical part of the program will include using third-party accreditation bodies to verify that laboratories are following the appropriate testing protocols and properly calibrating their equipment, and that those running the tests are properly trained. 

“As one of North America’s leading food and consumer product testing companies, FSNS is pleased to lead this effort,” said Barry Carpenter, NIHC Board member, NIHC Standards Committee Chair, and Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs and Client Relations for Food Safety Net Services (FSNS). “This initiative will bring value to the marketplace and peace of mind to the consumer with reliable and transparent information about CBD products.”

NIHC is looking to partner and explore these standards with the world’s leading standards bodies, hoping to make a pilot program for CBD companies and labs available for enrollment. 

With NIHC developing its own standards and label, consumers looking to buy CBD products, at either brick-and-mortar retail stores or online, will have an opportunity to look for an NIHC label that ensures products that they’re considering purchasing meet the most stringent safety protocols in the hemp industry.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications.

NIHC Kicks Off 2021 Hemp Business Summit

Date: 15 November 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), the only Washington, D.C.-based trade association in the hemp industry, this morning kicked off it’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Highlighting the summit will be speaker’s from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Curt Schrader (D-OR).

“We’re excited to bring this event to America’s hemp farmers, processors, retailers and consumers,” said NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi. “When we hosted this event in 2019 in Portland, we were announcing ourselves as a new organization. Today, our members are here to learn from the experts in our industry and hear updates about the important programs NIHC has implemented to strengthen the brand of hemp here at home and around the world.”

NIHC’s 2021 Hemp Business Summitt has the most dynamic line up of speakers to address the U.S. domestic hemp industry. Besides represetnatives from USDA, FDA, and members of Congress, the speaking line up features some of the country’s most aforementioned experts in the hemp industry touching every part of the hemp value chain from growers, banking, capital investments, economics, academia, consumer safety and attorney’s who litigate on behalf of numerous hemp buisnesses.

“Since our first meeting, NIHC has grown in size and stature,” said Atagi. “We look forward to a successful meeting that further cements the NIHC as the leading organization advocating on behalf of industrial hemp.”

Our line up of speakers will touch every part of the plant in every part of the globe and we couldn’t be more pleased at the value-add this meeting will bring for not only our members but the entire hemp industry at large.” Atagi concluded.

Since its founding in 2019, NIHC events have remained the sole place where a bipartisan collection of FDA officials have made public comments. Additionally, NIHC is a new government cooperator through the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) meaning NIHC has the ability to bring industry together to lead trade missions overseas and promote the exports of American hemp. NIHC also has two board members who currently serve on Agriculture Technical Advisory Committees (ATAC) that advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States Trade Represetnative (USTR) on technical barriers to trade.

NIHC did not have a meeting in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

Patrick Atagi Named President and CEO of NIHC

Date: 27 October 2021

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) Board of Directors proudly announces that Patrick Atagi has been named President and CEO of the hemp industry’s only Washington, D.C.-based trade association. The NIHC continues to grow with new staff and leadership. Members, industry partners, hemp associations, and international partners will meet with Atagi on November 14-16th at NIHC’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit in Washington, DC.

Atagi currently serves on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) on Cotton, Tobacco, Hemp and Peanuts at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which advises not only the Secretary of Agriculture, but also the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on technical barriers to trade. Atagi is one of two members of the NIHC to serve on a USDA ATAC.

“The economic promise of hemp has the capacity to change the world,” says Atagi. “Its utility is near limitless and it can be found in everything from food to clothes, building materials and manufacturing. Our goal at NIHC has always been, and will remain: to create a hemp economy that works for everyone.”

Under Atagi’s leadership, NIHC has had several accomplishments, which have raised the profile of industrial hemp.

In 2020, NIHC’s input was instrumental in Congress extending the 2014 Hemp Pilot Program. This year, NIHC took the lead in drafting language for Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) legislation to change the statutory definition of hemp to one percent delta-9 THC. NIHC has also worked with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Paul to write legislation giving FDA the authority to make CBD not just a dietary supplement; but also an ingredient in food.

Atagi led the Board of Directors in an initiative to successfully enroll NIHC as an official government partner through the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), a public-private partnership in which the USDA matches industry funds to promote U.S. commodities in the global economy. The NIHC was successfully awarded $200,000 from the USDA MAP initiative.

“I’m thankful for our Board of Directors and the members of NIHC who have placed their trust in me to be a voice that leads our industry. We will continue to do the necessary work to promote the brand of hemp, ensure consumer safety and usher the U.S. hemp industry into the global marketplace,” Atagi says.

Prior to this role, Atagi was the Vice President of Advocacy and External Affairs at the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA), subsequently becoming the Executive Director of the NWPCA Political Action Committee (PAC). Other leadership roles in Washington, D.C. include Director at the American Chemistry Council, Secretariat for the World Chlorine Council, and Director at the National Association of State Department’s of Agriculture (NASDA).

Atagi is prepared for this challenge. He has served in multiple roles at the USDA and United States Senate, as well as having private sector international and domestic experience. Atagi served as a presidential political appointee at USDA; Confidential Assistant to the Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Director of Alaska and Native American Programs. He began his career in Washington working on agricultural issues for then United States Senator Mark Hatfield (OR), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also remains President of DA Farms in Nyssa, Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has his MBA from the University of Maryland, Global Campus. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife Tracy.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information please go to www.hempindustrial.com.

 

 

NIHC Partner, Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, receives $10 Million Grant from USDA

Date: 8 October 2021

The USDA has awarded a $10 million grant to Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC) to define economic opportunities for industrial hemp in the Western United States.

The grant, which funds the five-year project, is funded by USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program and will study the economic opportunities for hemp in Native American and rural communities in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California.

You can read the full brief of the grant here on the USDA website.

“We established the Global Hemp Innovation Center in 2019 to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders to address big unanswered questions about the hemp industry,” Jeffrey Steiner, associate director of the center said in a statement. “While enthusiasm for hemp has grown, there is still a tremendous lack of knowledge about the crop.”

NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi sits on the Executive Advisory Board of Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center partners with NIHC, frequently lending data and scientific expertise as we advocate for and protecting the brand of hemp.

In what is sure to be a highlight next month in Washington, Jay Noller, the Executive Director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center, will be providing the keynote address at NIHC’s Hemp Business Summit.

“As a member of the Global Hemp Innovation Center’s Executive Advisory Board, I’m excited at the possibilities this grant presents the entire hemp industry,” said Atagi. “From food, to fiber and grain, industrial hemp has the potential to prime the pump of our economy over the next generation while also setting the standard for climate smart agriculture. This grant will help showcase the potential of the hemp plant and I couldn’t be more pleased for Jay and Jeff and the entire team at Oregon State.”

The grant was announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as part of an investment of more than $146 million in sustainable agricultural research projects aimed at improving a robust, resilient, climate-smart food and agricultural system.

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NIHC and HCANN-CR Enter MOU to Advance the Brand of Hemp Throughout the Americas

Date: 13 January 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC) and the Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council (HCANN-CR) announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on issues including improving the quality of hemp research, marketing, networking, and consumer protection services to strengthen and advance the brand of hemp in the global marketplace.

As NIHC continues to increase our global footprint, partnering with HCANN-CR presents a tremendous opportunity to promote American hemp in the Western Hemisphere,” said Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council of America. “Working directly with our colleagues in Costa Rica will be a value add for American hemp producers with additional research opportunities and brand promotion to promote the hemp economy in both countries.”

“This alliance enhances the historical commercial partnership between the United States of America and Costa Rica,” said Roy Thompson, Chairman of HCANN-CR. “The global hemp industry can help create thousands of jobs in Costa Rica, generating economic and social benefits for our population and the access to better and safer products for the consumers around the world. We recognize the American hemp industry as a global leader in technology, standards, and the importance of the environment as a priority.  We are united by history, commerce, and values. We celebrate this agreement with great excitement.”

HCANN-CR and NIHC intend to strengthen the relationships between the organizations to improve the quality of hemp research, marketing, networking, and consumer protection services to advance the brand of hemp domestically and internationally. Together, they hope to identify and seek funding opportunities through numerous private, non-profit, and governmental organizations to increase the quality of industrial hemp research guiding public policy in both countries.

NIHC already participates with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Market Access Program (MAP) and has written a unified export strategy for the markets of Europe and Asia. While the agreement announced today between the two parties is not part of a cooperative agreement with the MAP program, NIHC can nonetheless rely on experiences in working with foreign governments overseas and utilize best practices in the international marketplace to develop more networking opportunities and open further markets in Costa Rica for hemp producers in the United States.

The Costa Rican government recently approved the cultivation, processing, storage and transportation of cannabis production including industrial hemp. The new Costa Rican law does not allow for the recreational use of higher-THC cannabis.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council of America: The National Industrial Hemp Council of America provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information, please go to www.nihcoa.com.

About the Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council: The Hemp and Cannabis Costa Rica Council (HCANN-CR) was established by a team of global industry leaders in cannabis and global policy. HCANN-CR members represent a variety of sectors within the hemp and medical marijuana industry including growers and farmers, suppliers and equipment, processing and extraction, laboratory testing, professional services, manufacturers, wholesale and retail, medical professionals, and consumers. For more information, please go to www.hcann-cr.com.

NIHC Hears from Hemp Champions on Capitol Hill

Date: 1 December 2021

NIHC Hears from Hemp Champions on Capitol Hill

The National Industrial Hemp Council’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit day two started off with Courtney Moran, the President of the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (OIHFA) who introduced one of our featured speakers, Congressman Kurt Schrader. Attendees heard an update from Congressman Schrader on everything that was happening in Congress, but he drilled down on his legislation, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act (H.R. 841) that will allow CBD and other hemp-derived products to be lawfully used in dietary supplements. NIHC has met with and expressed our support to Congressman Schrader several times and he thanked NIHC for its support of his legislation.

Later in the morning, NIHC was pleased to hear an update from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) who has two bills in the Senate that would address the logjam at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). His bipartisan bill, the Hemp Access, and Consumer Safety Act with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) would go a step further than Congressman Schrader’s bill by including CBD as an ingredient in both dietary supplements and food. Attendees heard Senator Wyden explain that the FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD despite the 2018 Farm Bill which removed hemp from the list of controlled substances.

Senator Wyden also spoke about the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act that he introduced alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Corey Book (D-NJ) that would provide a pathway for the use of CBD in dietary supplements while addressing the numerous social inequality issues around cannabis and cannabis use.

“Congress says hemp and hemp-derived CBD are not illegal substances, but the FDA somehow just keeps on merrily treating it that way,” Wyden said.

FDA Addresses NIHC

Senator Wyden’s comments were the perfect segue as attendees heard next directly from Grail Sipes, who is the Acting Chair of FDA’s Cannabis Products Committee. This wasn’t the first time the FDA has addressed an NIHC meeting. You may recall the FDA has some of its senior leaders address the 2019 NIHC meeting in Portland, Oregon. But now, we’re in a different time with a new party in control of Washington.

“We continue to underscore the need for evidence to support the science, safety profile and quality of CBD and cannabis-derived products,” Sipes said.

While many in our industry may agree to disagree, the one thing that we can all agree on is that as an industry, we must have regulatory certainty to continuing growing our industry.

Sipes also made news by announcing at the NIHC Hemp Business Summit that FDA was conducting a two-phase CBD market survey on the accuracy of CBD products to evaluate if they really contain what the label indicates. A large party of the NIHC mission is to be partners in enhancing consumer safety, and we feel the same way. There is too much misinformation and inaccurate claims being made by bad actors in our industry and there continues to be independent third-party groups testing CBD products finding errors in labeling. That’s why NIHC announced at our meeting the launch of an effort to ensure accuracy in labeling. We look to partner with industry stakeholders and eventually to have an NIHC certified logo on products being sold in stores and online.

In our announcement, we wrote:

NIHC believes in establishing an accurate, consistent testing regime. This label will bring value to the marketplace and integrity to products sold nationwide in stores and online. NIHC is exploring testing standards and third-party verification laboratory requirements that will be applicable when testing for potency, pesticides, metals, terpenes, and other product attributes. A critical part of the program will include using third-party accreditation bodies to verify that laboratories are following the appropriate testing protocols and properly calibrating their equipment, and that those running the tests are properly trained. 

USDA Also Addresses NIHC

The NIHC attendees also heard from a panel on USDA regulations which featured Bill Richmond, Chief of USDA’s hemp program. He was joined on stage by former Agriculture Marketing Service Deputy Administrator and current Food Safety Net Service executive and NIHC Board member Barry Carpenter. Rounding out the panel was Santa Fe Farms Vice President of Advocacy Hunter Buffington.

There is no shortage of items for USDA to address on behalf of the hemp industry and our panel moderator Rick Fox, NIHC’s Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair, moderated a panel that could have addressed even more issues, but unfortunately only had an hour to get through the many important issues in the USDA’s final rule on domestic hemp production. During his remarks, Richmond announced the new Hemp Enterprise Monitoring Program (HEMP) at USDA that will be an effort by USDA to capture production data and a way to monitor licensee information.

Carpenter for his part drew a parallel between the hemp industry and the organic program when that program was in its infancy at USDA. Carpenter noted that when the USDA adopted its organic program, that it was done to provide the maximum amount of flexibility to the industry as possible as they sought to grow and expand market access – particularly internationally – for organic products.

Importance of Communicating About Hemp

Hemp Business Summit attendees also heard from Global Branding Expert of GT&I Glenn Tarr who talked about the need to speak with a unified voice to promote U.S.-based hemp in the global economy. As Founder and Creative Director of GT&I, Glenn spoke to attendees about the importance of raising awareness of NIHC as a global leader in the hemp industry and that means getting away from the use of the cannabis leaf that is all too often associated with higher THC cannabis. In doing so, Tarr told attendees NIHC can help lead the effort by communicating all the positive attributes of the hemp plant including its numerous industrial applications and ability to sequester carbon; and change the narrative that hemp is just another word for an intoxicating substance.

Economic Update – And Plenty of Data to Share

NIHC Chief Economist Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics closed out the Summit with an engaging economic update.

Whitney noted that cannabis production is now legal in 65 countries and that U.S. government inaction is hurting U.S. global competitiveness. Despite that inaction, U.S. hemp still accounts for 25 percent of the world’s hemp market.

Whitney says there has been an increase of 575% of cultivation capacity in the U.S. but that the lack of buyers, particularly in the manufacturing sector, has led to an excess of inventories and with it, a sharp decline in prices. He indicates the shifting trend in the hemp industry with cultivation licensees increasing in non-tradition hemp producing states. While traditional hemp states like Kentucky and Colorado still have a place among the states with the most licensees, we’re seeing additional licenses rising in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee rounding out the top ten.

Finally, Whitney closed by noting that capacity is still required in the hemp industry, but not just for CBD flower. He expects that the trend will begin to shift to fiber and grain product in 2022. He also noted that there is no data available for hemp product manufacturing. 

The NIHC 2021 Hemp Business Summit provided the needed intelligence and framework to continue to move the needle on U.S. hemp production and innovation in the coming year. NIHC looks forward to continuing the discussions on many levels to secure the future of the industry.

Empowering Industrial Hemp to Thrive

Date: 1 December 2021

If you missed it, let us catch you up.

The 2021 Hemp Business Summit was a jammed-packed event that included multiple announcements, current hemp data, all-around subject matter expertise and networking. Discussions on both the stage and in the hallways empowered attendees to consider their part to move our industry forward. NIHC is proud to facilitate critical discussions and progressive thought leadership about hemp.

Attendees from across the country converged to create industry partner relationships for their needs and gain insight to overcome current market challenges. In fact, one attendee reported that for their emerging business, they had initiated critical conversations with two large-scale hemp producers, as well as established a better understanding on how to secure funding through the financial presentations. Others reported making connections that will move the needle on their industrial hemp endeavors.

NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi opened the meeting with a vision of unity. “Who is NIHC?” he asked. “We are a broad group of members of varied interests who are all working to build a vibrant global industrial hemp marketplace. We are in this together. We are global.”

With that, Atagi introduced the new NIHC brand look that includes a new logo (seen below), a new website, a new magazine ­– Hemp Industrial™ ­– and other elements, all developed with hemp’s global stage in mind. The new brand and messaging showcase our industry as  sustainable, climate-smart and agriculturally rooted in history looking towards a progressive future. As we move forward, our advocacy efforts at home  establish NIHC as an authoritative voice for hemp on the global stage as we facilitate the international market development for American hemp growers and innovators.

Hemp Business Legal Considerations Continue

The event kicked off with a discussion on the regulatory environments that the industry must navigate, which then led to broader topics on business and opportunity, both short and long term. Representatives from the law firm and a top 2021 Hemp Business Summit sponsor Gordon & Rhees Scully Mansukhani spent time framing the current regulatory landscape from business, commerce, and employment perspectives to help attendees in “reading the hemp leaves” while navigating local, state, and federal directives.

Can We Overcome the Challenges of Banking Hemp?

With that foundation laid, Todd Van Hoose, President and Chief Executive Officer of Farm Credit Council, shared the progress and pain of financial institutions and their hemp policies. “We will stick with the growers, but it is tough,” said Van Hoose. “For lenders, it takes a while to establish guidelines for new lending.”

“Now that there are more frontline standards, bankers can get their processes in order, while managing the risks,” he emphasized.

“I think we need to look at progress made,” says Atagi. “The fact that financial institutions are looking at hemp financing is critical; in 2019, there was not so much opportunity.”

Melissa Marsal, EVP/Chief Operating Officer of West Town Bank & Trust, and Sundie Seefried, President and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Harbor Financial, both presented detailed accounts of what their banks look for in hemp business banking partners. The bottom line: Be open and honest on your business, have a clear vision to accomplish goals, and have consistent business practices. “Hemp is not black and white, and a bank cannot bank what they don’t understand,” said Seefried. Hemp banking is expensive to manage, requires more paperwork to be filed, and takes longer to onboard a client. Therefore, hemp clients can expect to pay higher fees. Yet, with more regulatory certainty, she says this will change.

“What regulators say about high risk, we have to follow,” notes Marsal. Ultimately, she says, “We want to offer anything we offer to other businesses. Our whole mission is for you to have a safe banking experience.”

Academic Experts Speak about the Future of Hemp

Moving into discussion about hemp agriculture, Jay Noller, Director, and lead researcher of Oregon State University’s (OSU) Global Hemp Innovation Center, and Lawrence B. Smart, Professor, Horticulture Section at the Cornell University School of Integrative Plant Science, presented research efforts that are making news. With OSU’s recent $10 million grant to explore Western hemp production, Noller says his center’s job is to “find where the brick walls, are and tear them down, don’t allow them to be built, or work around them.”

Smart spoke on plant research and getting viable feedstock into the hemp system. “A lot of evidence suggests that hemp growth depends a lot on genetics, not environment. Currently, you have to plant 2,000 plants just to get 20 compliant ones.” His research is geared to creating a library of germplasm to adapt hemp plants to grow successfully for breeders.

Hemp’s Sustainability

Steven Gluckstern, CEO & Chairman of Santa Fe Farms gave a presentation titled Sustainability: Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Credits, and the Hemp Industry. Hemp, Gluckstern says, “can be incorporated into thousands of products.” The Santa Fe Farms CEO talked about his vision of a hemp value chain that included human and animal feed, building materials, and paper. While he currently farms 1,000 acres, he told attendees his goal is to eventually farm one million acres. “An acre of hemp will store more carbon than an acre in the rainforest. This industry isn’t an afterthought; the carbon story can change that,” Gluckstern said.  

 

The State Regulatory Environment

Attendees also heard from experts on what is happening with regulations at the state level.  Tillery Sims of the Texas Hemp Growers Association, Blake Butler Executive Director of the Southeast Hemp Association and Courtney Moran, President and Lobbyist for the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association shared about their successes and navigating issues in the states. They discussed interstate commerce, ousting bad actors, engaging with governors and legislators, and cultivating the what is ultimately a decades-long hemp growing process forward. Moran, for her part, said that state regulators should note past successes and failures of neighboring states while making policy changes.

“If you don’t have adequate funding, nothing is going to work,” Moran says of state hemp plans.

Butler addressed the challenges of interstate commerce noting that there have been over 20 seizures of legal hemp in the southeast region. “We’ve won every case,” Butler said, “but we’ve never received the product back.” He also warned the hemp industry is hurting itself, telling attendees, “Regulators and legislators aren’t sure who to listen to. We must get on the same page.”

Panels and speakers on data and cannabis venture capital rounded out the day. Julie Lerner, Founder and CEO of PanXchange reminded the attendees to put the industry in perspective. “We need to have hard conversations of what we specifically want to ask of legislators,” she says.  

Standards and the Future of Hemp

In a bit of NIHC news, the Council is spearheading an initiative to bring to market a set of standards to enhance consumer safety and regulatory confidence. Dr. Matthew Curran, Food Safety Director, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, David Schmidt, Executive Director at AOAC International, Barry Carpenter, Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) and Kathleen May, CEO/Founder, Triskele Quality Solutions & Chair of ASTM’s International-D37-Cannabis Committee spoke on this new plan during the Industry Standards Panel.  

Rounding out the day was a robust discussion about the future of the hemp business and how to go about what NIHC member and Delta Agriculture CEO, George Overbey described as “changing the world with hemp.” “There is a word to shape the future of the industry’s economy and the word is sustainable. We need to take hold of the opportunity that hemp represents, as a promise for our economy and our environment.”

And…that was just day one!

NIHC Announces Effort to Strengthen Testing Standards, Labels for CBD

Date: 16 November 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) announced today, at its 2021 Hemp Business Summit, plans to roll out a pilot program establishing standards for product testing protocols and laboratories. Participants in the program will be able to label products with the NIHC label of approval, ensuring the accuracy of product labeling that will set standards for ingredients, ensure the accuracy of labeling and ultimately, strengthen consumer confidence in the cannabidiol (CBD) products that they’re buying. 

The announcement, made during the standards panel discussion, comes one day before NIHC will hear directly from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Cannabis Product Committee Chair, Grail Sipes, at its meeting tomorrow. 

“We’re excited for this program that we believe is going to strengthen consumer confidence, promote accuracy in labeling and ultimately, protect the brand of hemp,” said Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, consumers have been waiting for the FDA to act on CBD. Without any guidance from the FDA thus far, NIHC is stepping up to develop our own testing standards and labeling protocols that we believe will enhance consumer safety and protect the consumer’s right to know.”

NIHC believes in establishing an accurate, consistent testing regime. This label will bring value to the marketplace and integrity to products sold nationwide in stores and online. NIHC is exploring testing standards and third-party verification laboratory requirements that will be applicable when testing for potency, pesticides, metals, terpenes, and other product attributes. A critical part of the program will include using third-party accreditation bodies to verify that laboratories are following the appropriate testing protocols and properly calibrating their equipment, and that those running the tests are properly trained. 

“As one of North America’s leading food and consumer product testing companies, FSNS is pleased to lead this effort,” said Barry Carpenter, NIHC Board member, NIHC Standards Committee Chair, and Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs and Client Relations for Food Safety Net Services (FSNS). “This initiative will bring value to the marketplace and peace of mind to the consumer with reliable and transparent information about CBD products.”

NIHC is looking to partner and explore these standards with the world’s leading standards bodies, hoping to make a pilot program for CBD companies and labs available for enrollment. 

With NIHC developing its own standards and label, consumers looking to buy CBD products, at either brick-and-mortar retail stores or online, will have an opportunity to look for an NIHC label that ensures products that they’re considering purchasing meet the most stringent safety protocols in the hemp industry.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications.

NIHC Kicks Off 2021 Hemp Business Summit

Date: 15 November 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), the only Washington, D.C.-based trade association in the hemp industry, this morning kicked off it’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Highlighting the summit will be speaker’s from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Curt Schrader (D-OR).

“We’re excited to bring this event to America’s hemp farmers, processors, retailers and consumers,” said NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi. “When we hosted this event in 2019 in Portland, we were announcing ourselves as a new organization. Today, our members are here to learn from the experts in our industry and hear updates about the important programs NIHC has implemented to strengthen the brand of hemp here at home and around the world.”

NIHC’s 2021 Hemp Business Summitt has the most dynamic line up of speakers to address the U.S. domestic hemp industry. Besides represetnatives from USDA, FDA, and members of Congress, the speaking line up features some of the country’s most aforementioned experts in the hemp industry touching every part of the hemp value chain from growers, banking, capital investments, economics, academia, consumer safety and attorney’s who litigate on behalf of numerous hemp buisnesses.

“Since our first meeting, NIHC has grown in size and stature,” said Atagi. “We look forward to a successful meeting that further cements the NIHC as the leading organization advocating on behalf of industrial hemp.”

Our line up of speakers will touch every part of the plant in every part of the globe and we couldn’t be more pleased at the value-add this meeting will bring for not only our members but the entire hemp industry at large.” Atagi concluded.

Since its founding in 2019, NIHC events have remained the sole place where a bipartisan collection of FDA officials have made public comments. Additionally, NIHC is a new government cooperator through the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) meaning NIHC has the ability to bring industry together to lead trade missions overseas and promote the exports of American hemp. NIHC also has two board members who currently serve on Agriculture Technical Advisory Committees (ATAC) that advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States Trade Represetnative (USTR) on technical barriers to trade.

NIHC did not have a meeting in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

Patrick Atagi Named President and CEO of NIHC

Date: 27 October 2021

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) Board of Directors proudly announces that Patrick Atagi has been named President and CEO of the hemp industry’s only Washington, D.C.-based trade association. The NIHC continues to grow with new staff and leadership. Members, industry partners, hemp associations, and international partners will meet with Atagi on November 14-16th at NIHC’s 2021 Hemp Business Summit in Washington, DC.

Atagi currently serves on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) on Cotton, Tobacco, Hemp and Peanuts at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which advises not only the Secretary of Agriculture, but also the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on technical barriers to trade. Atagi is one of two members of the NIHC to serve on a USDA ATAC.

“The economic promise of hemp has the capacity to change the world,” says Atagi. “Its utility is near limitless and it can be found in everything from food to clothes, building materials and manufacturing. Our goal at NIHC has always been, and will remain: to create a hemp economy that works for everyone.”

Under Atagi’s leadership, NIHC has had several accomplishments, which have raised the profile of industrial hemp.

In 2020, NIHC’s input was instrumental in Congress extending the 2014 Hemp Pilot Program. This year, NIHC took the lead in drafting language for Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) legislation to change the statutory definition of hemp to one percent delta-9 THC. NIHC has also worked with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Paul to write legislation giving FDA the authority to make CBD not just a dietary supplement; but also an ingredient in food.

Atagi led the Board of Directors in an initiative to successfully enroll NIHC as an official government partner through the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), a public-private partnership in which the USDA matches industry funds to promote U.S. commodities in the global economy. The NIHC was successfully awarded $200,000 from the USDA MAP initiative.

“I’m thankful for our Board of Directors and the members of NIHC who have placed their trust in me to be a voice that leads our industry. We will continue to do the necessary work to promote the brand of hemp, ensure consumer safety and usher the U.S. hemp industry into the global marketplace,” Atagi says.

Prior to this role, Atagi was the Vice President of Advocacy and External Affairs at the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA), subsequently becoming the Executive Director of the NWPCA Political Action Committee (PAC). Other leadership roles in Washington, D.C. include Director at the American Chemistry Council, Secretariat for the World Chlorine Council, and Director at the National Association of State Department’s of Agriculture (NASDA).

Atagi is prepared for this challenge. He has served in multiple roles at the USDA and United States Senate, as well as having private sector international and domestic experience. Atagi served as a presidential political appointee at USDA; Confidential Assistant to the Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Director of Alaska and Native American Programs. He began his career in Washington working on agricultural issues for then United States Senator Mark Hatfield (OR), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also remains President of DA Farms in Nyssa, Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has his MBA from the University of Maryland, Global Campus. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife Tracy.

About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information please go to www.hempindustrial.com.

 

 

NIHC Summit Tackles Banking in Expert Panel

Date: 1 October 2021

Experts in Banking & Farm Credit for Hemp-related Businesses come together to share in a timely panel designed to provide insight on the financial sector of industrial hemp. If hemp is legal, why are so many hemp-related businesses struggling to find reliable banking partners? We delve into this hot topic with leaders who can provide an insider’s view.

Todd Van Hoose, Melissa Marsal, and Sundie Seefried share what attendees need to know about banking and farm credit for a hemp business, including how to find the right bank, review the risks hemp-related businesses take by banking with some institutions, and how to prepare for the additional scrutiny to obtain and retain a good banking relationship.

Todd Van Hoose is President and CEO of the Farm Credit Council, where he leads the national trade association’s efforts to represent the Farm Credit System’s interests before Congress, the Administration, and various federal regulatory agencies. He also serves on a variety of leadership bodies within Farm Credit, including the Presidents’ Planning Committee and the Business Practices Committee.

Melissa Marsal is Chief Operating Officer of West Town Bank & Trust and has been with the Bank for over a decade. She oversees all aspects of Operations and is also responsible for helping the Bank build a program uniquely tailored to the challenges of hemp-related businesses. Through the Bank’s partnership with RiskScout, Inc., they provide a client experience that reduces the time to open a bank account from weeks to a matter of hours.

Sundie Seefried is CEO of Safe Harbor Financial, located in Denver Colorado. She is the former CEO of Partner Colorado Credit Union and retired from her credit union career of 38 years to focus her full attention on cannabis banking. In 2014 instead of retirement, she designed a full scope Cannabis Banking Program known as the Safe Harbor program which has withstood the scrutiny of 15 Federal and State exams to date.

Have you registered? Time is of the essence! Don’t delay!

for more information

Grace Johnson NIHC
(202) 919-3750 / [email protected]

 

for media enquiries please contact:

international press office:

Greg Moore, gt&i Ltd
+44 (0)7748 968695 / [email protected]

US press office:

Larry Farnsworth, NIHC
(202) 919-3750 / [email protected]

Thank you for your interest in joining the National Industrial Hemp Council of America. Please fill in the below form, and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss our membership options.

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