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NEASDA Meeting Highlights

Prespecitves from Hank & Sally

Introduction

We appreciate this opportunity to share our point of view regarding the NEASDA event. First things first, the views expressed are those of the writer, none of the views necessarily reflect or obligate the US Hemp Building Association, where Henry is Certifications Director. Within the USHBA Board of Directors, we give each other a lot of freedom to speak and are working through a shared model so that we can efficiently respect all brands and contributors in our “Hemp Economy”. I think most board members would agree with what I am sharing but to confirm agreement takes a vote of the BOD. Thus, we are sharing our qualified personal opinions.

Our story started years ago when we completed the first Hemp-Lime retrofit in New York. Now we work as activists for Hemp. As the USHBA Certifications Director, my goal is to help people get projects approved by creating a framework of approvals, research and policy decisions in every state. Sharing what we are doing can inspire a few more people into local action.

On June 13, it was our honor to attend the 2022 NEASDA meeting in historic Hershey, PA. It was a good time to meet Commissioners and Secretaries from so many states. We were able to show examples of products made from hemp, talk to commissioners and meet policy analysts focused on increasing hemp related market activity.

Henry, Sally, Erica and NY Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Richard Ball.

Henry and PA Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.

NEASDA is an acronym for the Northeastern Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The following states are members: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture) is the parent organization that has information on all member states.  Here is their mission:

“NASDA impacts national food and agriculture policy by harnessing our members’ unique role in the nexus between federal and state policy-making. NASDA’s Board of Directors establishes the organization’s policy priorities annually.” https://www.nasda.org/

Hemp For Victory 2.0

As a volunteer Certification Director (2hrs./week), I quickly use up that time helping with core policy decisions for the USHBA. Advocacy is what gets most of my time and this was a tremendous opportunity to help all of our causes by influencing commissioners on the east coast to take some positive steps ASAP.

My thinking is that there are people in every state who can copy best practices in the hemp field and look to do something similar, using similar words, so that our harmonized message gains power through resonance. In my view, we want politicians spending our tax dollars on things that will benefit activity in the hemp economy. A key idea for commissioners is increasing market activity while meeting their other goals. Later in this document are highlights from the day we attended the meeting.

What made this meeting special is that we were able to spend more time with Erica Stark, of the NHA, and harmonize our messages into these three powerful components that you might want to share locally, in your own words/links. Keep in mind, too often politicians rely on staff who have limited knowledge of viable action steps, thus there is a tendency to wait for a viable solution to appear.

By working together we have delivered a viable, three part roadmap that starts today.

Liberate Hemp – BUILD GREEN NOW
This is a policy change request focused on reducing legislation at the state level, within the authority of each commissioner. We have pointed out key facts and have started a survey to gather information that we can share with commissioners as we help improve public policy.

Buy Hemp – BUILD GREEN NOW
This creates immediate market demand for hemp based products by using the power of a purchase order today with delivery in 18 mos. Like a futures contract, an entrepreneur can leverage to gets enough financing for large capital projects (hemp mill). We think every state should have several mills.

GRAIN & FIBER HEMP EXEMPTION

Erica and her partners have been working hard on their proposals and have done a lot for the industrial hemp industry. We are all in agreement Hemp Exemption is necessary to grow the market. These restrictions, at the federal level, are impeding market growth. 

The event was well coordinated to hit some important topics in the form of lectures or presentations. Their lectures covered such topics as the cooperation between schools and workforce development. Nutrition was covered as well as gross emissions and the foreign market. We were there to talk with the commissioners about hemp and the need to liberate industrial hemp. We had a well stocked table of hemp items and examples of the diversity achieved with the plant.

The break time in their program allowed us one and a half hours to talk with commissioners and give them a pitch letter with samples of hemp fiber and paper. Commissioner Ball of New York State, came over to greet us early, and receive his gift. He states he is in agreement with the concept of hemp liberation, for industrial hemp to differ from cannabinoid hemp. We spoke to others who are also on board with the concept.

Hemp and the Commissioners

At the beginning of this year, if you had told me that before the end of the year I would be in a room with commissioners from 10 states on the eastern seaboard, I would’ve said, how is that even possible. That’s exactly where I found myself, by following up on an invitation to present information to the commissioners about Industrial Hemp.

I had never been to Hershey Pennsylvania. Hershey is home to the famous chocolate brand Hershey’s chocolate. The following are raw notes from the meeting. As Hemp industry influencers our goal is to encourage Commissioners to collaborate and accelerate market activity for industrial hemp in our region.

Their featured attraction was the Wood Mobile, provided by an event sponsor to highlight one of the valuable crops and products made in their region. The trailer was a display case on wheels with examples of different applications of wood products plus providing follow up information about USA’s hardwoods and sustainable harvesting.

A commissioner mentioned to me “We need a Hemp Mobile”. I smiled and said, I agree, let’s build it. Interactions like this are extremely encouraging. In general I found that all of the people I talked with were receptive to our missions. Knowing this, the idea is how to take the next step? The next steps are different for each state and the choices and tactics can benefit from sharing best practices. Recognizing this it seems important to identify the ongoing hemp conversations in communities across America and help people find each other.

In the New York area, we are starting a local conversation with the first meeting in legendary Woodstock, NY. at the historic Station Bar, 101 Tinker Street. We plan to stream the content starting 2:00pm ET and will post the link on this site: https://www.buildgreennow.net/conversations.html

Summary

We left them with this thought…

Industrial Hemp helped America as part of the war efforts. Now it is returning to win the peace. Farmers, investors, and innovators approve this plan. It provides support for industrial hemp market activity.

We provide a solution to the questions of how to get the market started. For many, the discussions have revolved around the “Chicken or Egg” situation for what can benefit the market first – growing hemp ready to process or building a mill ready to process hemp not yet grown. See: Buy Hemp Now.

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