This year, across the U.S., most farmers who try help will get burned. Half of what was planted this year is likely to not be harvested. This is due to lots of bad actors in that space, and few protections for farmers. Indeed: many hemp operations in the U.S. now have been funded through illegitimate means (“briefcases full of cash,” which Bill himself has been approached with numerous times by unscrupulous individuals). And there is a lot of people looking to take advantage of unsavvy hemp farmers with bad seeds and bad inputs.
The industry standard is Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies. As Bill reports, “if it’s not registered with them, it’s not a variety a farmer can safely use.” Because no hemp varieties are certified through AOSCA, “there are zero varieties” currently available to farmers.
When Bill Althouse joined Colorado governor Jared Polis’ CHAMP initiative, he advised, “Our goal should be getting Colorado farmers the cleanest plant stock with the lowest risk and the highest production in the shortest time frame at the lowest cost.” The CHAMP project, along with Colorado State University (CSU), are poised to create the first certified varieties.
The goal is to get the certified varieties that farmers can choose from. Having that third-party neutral screen guarantees which varieties to farmers won’t “go hot” (exceed 0.3% THC), causing the farmer to have to destroy his or her crop. Besides protecting farmers from bad seeds, AOSCA certification will lead to many future benefits to farmers, such as learning which kind of soil does best for which varieties, etc.
According to Bill Althouse, until this fall (when the farm bill is supposed to begin being enforced), the only way you can do I.P. registration on a hemp clone is to go through a plant patent office, who weren’t willing to touch hemp. Now, it’s shifting. Asexually (clonal) is now allowed plant variety protection for the first time. Guidelines for clones’ plant variety protection at USDA, were released Jan 6 2020. Fat Pig Society is preparing to submit its clones for plant variety protection. This is the kind of work called for “in the process of making hemp a legal plant.”
Fat Pig Society is committed to offering farmers safe (soon-to-be certified) varieties of hemp. This year FPS is offering varieties that they assure won’t “go hot” even if grown out until October (offered on a limited basis to those willing to partner with them). This kind of offer is unprecedented in today’s current market.