In 2018 when the Hemp Farming Act passed and allowed for the legal cultivation of hemp in the US, the optimism was unbridled and the approval of hemp as an animal feed seemed right around the corner. At the time, whenever I spoke about the regulatory approval process it seemed like I was always the bearer of bad news that no one wanted to hear… that federal approval for hemp as an animal feed ingredient was going to be 3-5 years away.
Now it is 2023 and wow have I learned a lot. Inevitably, the more you learn, the more you come to understand what you do not know as well. My goal in hosting the upcoming ASTM hemp as animal feed workshop is to bring together animal scientists, analytical chemists, regulators and the feed and hemp industries to have a candid discussion about what we know, where we need to develop resources and to acknowledge what we still need to investigate to ensure the safety of hemp as animal feed ingredients and the resulting animal feed products intended for human consumption.
The ASTM workshop will host researchers and experts from the US, Canada, Australia, and Germany for two days of presentations and panel discussions. The aim is to build partnerships to develop standards and appropriate regulatory guidance for quantifying cannabinoids in feed and animal by-products. This may seem redundant; but for many of us the challenge for achieving regulatory approval has not been understanding nutrition or contaminant content, (allow there are still some gaps to be addressed), but the difficulty in measuring very small amounts of cannabinoids in hemp seed products and animal tissues. While many private labs and Universities have developed methods to investigate trace amounts of these compounds, what remains missing are standard methods and comparable limits of detection that can be utilized by feed manufacturers and public labs charged with ensuring the safety of our feed and food supply.
My hope is that by the conclusion of the ASTM workshop, partnerships between researchers and labs, industry and regulators and the agencies and standardization bodies will culminate in a commitment to work together to close method gaps and recommend standards. We continually hear that there is a desire for zero cannabinoids and THC free products; but in a world where quantification limits can be achieved to part per trillion and we accept solvent residues and small amounts of heavy metals in our food; zero is not an appropriate goal. There is much to be done to create confidence in hemp feed ingredients, the animal products that result and to finally create consistent, achievable regulatory standards that the agencies and consumers can rely on.
Hunter Buffington, Tillery Sims and Jessica Scott quite literally live on 3 opposing points in the United States. Colorado, Texas and Indiana couldn’t be farther apart from one another physically. Their agricultural systems respectively represent their regional traditions, climates, culture and so much more. Read more about each of the team members individually here. Despite these distances and differences, the three of them have brushed elbows, collaborated and worked alongside one another for many years. Now, they are grateful to say they have the privilege to work with one another every day under their new company: Agriculture Policy Solutions (APS).
The unification of these three has been a long time coming. Individually, they have developed highly desirable and effective professional skill sets that have served employers, clients and non-profits alike. Their first work together was cultivated years ago in the emerging industrial hemp industry. Like any new industry, there was a call for industrious, smart, determined and innovative individuals to carry incredible amounts on their backs with little promise of return.
Most recently, the three had the privilege of working together to submit feed approval applications for Hempseed Meal and Hempseed Oil for Horses and Chickens in Texas and Kentucky. They secured state wide approvals and opened animal feed markets for hemp products for the first time in the US. They see a problem, they solve it. They see an opportunity, they pursue it.
With their individual and now team success under their belt, the three decided to officially create Agriculture Policy Solutions.
APS represents the culmination of years of identifying solutions to roadblocks and needs for farmers and ag businesses. The team's creative problem solving has moved projects forward methodically across the finish line. All three founders of APS have spent years in the non-profit space and have all wished there was more support to accomplish the incredible missions they were tied to.
Creating APS ignited the ability for these three women to take the reins on developing projects and support (with all of the benefits of a consultancy) for both companies and NPO’s to drive missions forward to see real results. No room for fluff, cutting the fat. Getting done what women do best: doing 20 things at once and completing as close to perfection as possible.
Currently it’s March 3rd, the second day of Women’s History Month. Women in Agriculture, specifically, will be the way APS chooses to enter the digital world and say “Nice to Meet You”, here is female excellence in agriculture. They will be sharing stories of brilliant female scientists, cultural stories we can see acting upon agriculture today, current female leaders in agriculture and so much more. You are invited to follow them along the journey while they provide solutions for ag innovators at:
LinkedIn: Agriculture Policy Solutions