SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Illinois has been officially an industrial hemp state for three days and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has no plans on stopping anytime soon in their pursuit of industrial hemp growers and processors in the Land of Lincoln.
In less than two days, IDOA received 369 applications — 295 growers and 74 processors — which resulted in departmental staff immediately reviewing the applications, which is the first step in the approval process.
Applications were opened up Tuesday morning for industrial hemp grower and processor licensing, allowing both individuals and business entities to apply. Applications can only be taken online at this time and a $100 application fee is payable via credit or debit card on the website.
License fees are the same for both classifications and can be purchased for up to three years, with their respective fees being $375 for one year, $700 for two years and $1,000 for three years. Those seeking a grower and processor license should expect to pay $750 for one year, $1,400 for two years and $2,000 for three years.
“As governor, I will ensure Illinois remains at the forefront of what it means to be a 21st century agricultural economy,” said Gov. JB Pritzker stated in a press release Tuesday. “Industrial hemp is a potentially billion-dollar industry that Illinois will now take part in. From farming and processing to sales and exports, this will have a massive impact on our state’s economy.”
“Since the passage of the Industrial Hemp Act last year, no single issue has generated more interest at IDOA from Illinois farmers, individuals and business owners than the growing and processing of industrial hemp,” said John Sullivan, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “Our staff has worked diligently to answer questions, complete the rule making process and provide a user-friendly application process—all in time to plant hemp this growing season. We are excited to watch this industry grow and provide job creation opportunities.”
In a departmental press release Wednesday, Sullivan expressed the department was “extremely pleased” with the early applications received since the application became publicly available.
“Pleased, but not necessarily surprised given the incredible amount of interest from potential growers and processors over the last several months,” Sullivan stated. “The IDOA staff worked tirelessly to ensure the rules and regulations were finished in time to plant hemp this spring; I appreciate their hard work.”
Jeff Cox, the department’s Springfield bureau chief of medicinal plants also had high praise for the early turnout in filling out the applications.
“We predicted there would be a lot of interest, but the turnout has been phenomenal,” said Cox. “I’m thrilled with how smoothly the application process has gone so far and our staff has been working non-stop to review and approve the applications.”
Of the 295 grower applications received, an estimated acreage of 7,093 acres were applied for. 97 applications were approved. 29 of the 74 processor applications were approved.
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