Plant Industries

Serving the citizens of Arkansas and the agricultural and business communities by providing information and unbiased enforcement of laws and regulations set by the Arkansas State Plant Board

Applications for the Hemp Program

Thank you for visiting the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s (Department) Hemp Licensing Program.

Department update regarding 2021 Grower Applications:

The Department is currently in the process of obtaining plan approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), as prompted by the 2018 Farm Bill. The current program exists under the 2014 Farm Bill, which allows states to establish research pilot programs, but this federal legislation set to expire on October 31, 2020.  Once Arkansas’ state hemp production plan is approved by the USDA, the Department will continue licensing growers and processor/handlers for the 2021 grow season. 

For more information, visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp

Once the Department receives hemp production plan approval from the USDA, the 2021 Hemp Grower Application will be posted here, on this webpage.  We greatly appreciate your patience as the Department continues to collaborate with the USDA on this effort.    

When the 2021 Grower Application is made available, the Department will accept 2021 Grower Applications until May 1st, 2021.  Grower Applications received or post-marked after this date will not be considered for participation to grow industrial hemp for the 2021 grow season.  Processor/Handler Applications will be accepted and reviewed year-round. 

Please keep in mind Program Fees are set to be implemented for the 2021 grow season.  The Program Fees should be taken into consideration before applying for a license.  Program Fee information is located within the Hemp Program Rules, Section 14, as well as on the “Hemp Program Rules & the Law” tab of this webpage. 

Applications for growing and processing/handling industrial hemp can be found at the bottom of this webpage. There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee required for each application submitted.

Applications may be submitted via email (industrialhemp@agriculture.arkansas.gov)* or post mailed to the Department.
*If you are emailing your application to the email address listed above, you must post-mail your $50 application fee to the Department with the first page of your application attached to payment. This documentation is required for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Accounting Department to properly process your application. *

As soon as the Hemp Grower Application is made available by the Department, grower applications will be due by May 1st, 2021 for the 2021 grow season. Processor/Handler applications will still be accepted and reviewed for program participation at any time during the year.

Key Information:

  • Licenses run on the ‘Fiscal Year’ from July 1st to June 30th, not on the normal calendar year.
  • Annual criminal history background checks from Arkansas State Police are required for applicants and all key participants in a business entity.
  • Any changes after a license is approved must be documented using the Site Modification Request form. Changes to licenses will require modification fees. The Department highly encourages growers and processors/handlers to make sure they have their final plans in place before submitting an application as to avoid site modification fees. Storage Location IDs for Growers are required!
  • The Department requires the following in order to obtain a license: a research plan, proof of agriculture or research experience, seed acquisition, and a marketing plan.
  • The Department Hemp Program Staff will not be able to assist applicants through the application process. This includes assistance with making aerial maps.
  • The status of the application submitted will be communicated back to the applicant as soon as possible via email. Keep in mind the Department Hemp Program Staff have up to 60-days to review all Industrial Hemp Applications submitted, and application review may be suspended for a period of time depending on the Department Hemp Program Staff workload.

PROGRAM APPLICATIONS AND PROGRAM FEES

For an industrial hemp grower or processor/handler to be licensed, they must first submit a completed application, along with a nonrefundable $50 application fee for each license application. If application is approved, you will be required to submit a $200 Industrial Hemp License Fee for each application approved, which will cover the fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th).

In addition to the $200 licensing fee, the Department will also invoice Program Fees prior to licensure.
Approved Grower Applicants will be invoiced for 1) an applied acreage fee, 2) applied Greenhouse fee(s) ($100 for each greenhouse), and 3) GPS Verification Fee(s) ($100 for each Location ID licensed).
Approved Processor/Handler Applicants will be invoiced for 1) an applied Processor fee(s) and 2) GPS Verification fee(s) ($100 for each Location ID licensed). 

For more information about Program Fees, review Section 14 of the Hemp Research Program Rules, located on the “Hemp Program Rules & the Law” tab. 

Applicants MUST read through the Program Rules and the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act prior to applying for licensure with the Department Hemp Research Program. These rules can be found here: Hemp Program Law & Rules.

Please make sure to fully review all application materials and regulations prior to contacting Department Hemp Staff with questions.

The Department is not in the position to offer direct consultation on completing a license application or to educate individuals about the production of industrial hemp.

All costs associated with the research program are the responsibility of the license holder, including profits and loss. The focus of this program is the collection of research data and learning through experience.

I want to grow hemp. Where do I start?

  • Determine what type of hemp you want to grow; what fits your farm operation: Grain, Fiber, Floral Material for CBD extraction.
  • Budget your operations accordingly, considering Program Fees, as well as general operational costs associated with growing or processing/handling hemp.
  • Apply for and obtain a hemp Grower License from the Department.
  • Find a buyer/processor for your intended harvest. As a starting point, you can find a list of licensed Processors on the Program Page titled “Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program Overview.” Harvested materials can only be sold to licensed processors.
  • Locate and obtain legal industrial hemp seeds or transplants. Seed companies must be licensed to deal seed into the State of Arkansas. Visit the Department Seed Section for more information about this permit. Transplants must have either a phytosanitary certificate or Nursery License in order to be brought into the State of Arkansas.
  • Research proper crop production techniques before planting the crop.

AERIAL ‘LOCATION ID’ MAPS

You are required to provide the Department a photographic aerial map of all growing, handling, processing, and storage locations. This requirement applies to all applicants/license holders and assists with the Department's required reporting to law enforcement agencies. Improper aerial Location ID maps will result in denial of a submitted application. Read all instructions/requirements very carefully.

For Location ID/aerial map making help, refer to this guidance document Aerial Map Location ID Help.

Note: The growing, handling, processing, and storage location IDs used within your application MUST be consistent on all reports and forms used in the program.

ARKANSAS STATE POLICE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK INFO

This license requires an annual Criminal Background Check from Arkansas State Police (ASP). The following link will take you to the ASP Criminal Background Check System. Select the manual process. Fill out the ASP-122 form and follow ASP directions. Release the criminal history background check to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, 1 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205. 
https://static.ark.org/asp/pdf/asp_122.pdf
https://www.ark.org/criminal/index.php?ac:show:contact=1#122
ASP will directly mail the results of the ASP background check to the Department.

If you have visited all of the Department’s hemp pages (and read the Program Rules) but still have questions about the program, please send inquiries to industrialhemp@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

Supporting, Protecting, and Growing Arkansas Agriculture and Forestry
Contact Us
1 Natural Resources Dr.
Little Rock, AR
72205
Email
(501) 225-1598