South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program
In March of 2019 The Hemp Farming Act (H.3449) was signed by Governor Henry McMaster. The bill defines who can participate in the state's hemp pilot program and the amount of acreage they can grow. The South Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is overseen and administered by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. State law originally allowed for only 40 permits to be issued in 2019. Under new state law however, anyone who previously applied for a grower permit will now be eligible to grow hemp in South Carolina, so long as they successfully pass a background check and have accurately provided: contact information, GPS Coordinates of where the crop is being grown and a signed letter of intent with a purchaser. The new law also removes the cap on acreage and a requirement to obtain a letter of intent from an approved college or university.
Clemson University has responded to the needs of the this emerging industry in SC by dedicating resources to help farmers through the state Extension program and addressing industry needs through scientific research.
South Carolina Department of Agriculture; Leading the Way
SCDA is responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses to grow industrial hemp in South Carolina. For information on obtaining a license for the 2020 growing season or a processing certification please reach out the SCDA's state hemp program team. You can find more information and contact information on the SCDA Industrial Hemp Program webpage.
Connecting with Industrial Hemp Processors/Manufacturers
Currently there is no list of industrial hemp processors or manufacturers for South Carolina. Potential growers may reach out to processors in other states. The Departments of Agriculture from North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee have processor lists posted on their industrial hemp pilot program webpages.
County Extension Agents will not be able to fill out applications or sign the College/University Letter of Intent form.
Industrial Hemp Production Information
Clemson University was not previously able to conduct any research in hemp production. Consequently, there is currently no hemp production information specific to South Carolina. According to D.W. Williams and Rich Mundell of the University of Kentucky, there have been very few U.S.-based agronomic research studies with industrial hemp since the early 20th century. The University of Kentucky has the most well established industrial hemp research program in the US. Their website is a great place to start. https://hemp.ca.uky.edu/
Industrial Hemp Cost of Production
There are currently no enterprise budgets available in the US that estimate the cost and returns of industrial hemp based on actual production. The University of Kentucky Department of Agricultural Economics released a study in 2013 titled “Economic Considerations for Growing Industrial Hemp: Implications for Kentucky’s Farmers and Agricultural Economy”. The study contains net returns estimates that are the closest thing to an enterprise budget for industrial hemp relative to the Southeast. Growers should realize these net returns were estimated before any experience with production.
Clemson Hemp Program Contact Form
Hemp Meeting Presentations
Welcome & Legislation (PDF)
For all inquires regarding requirements and acquiring a permit to participate in the SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, please contact SCDA directly:
- Vanessa Elsalah, SCDA Hemp Outreach Specialist
For other inquiries and general questions please reach out to the Clemson Industrial Hemp Program Team:
- David DeWitt, Hemp Program Coordinator, Extension Associate
- Justin Ballew, Production, Extension Associate
- Nathan Smith, Economics
- Kelly Flynn, Research Coordinator