Montana processors can now use hemp as an ingredient in commercial pet and horse feed.
Nationally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet given companies the green light to use hemp in animal feed since Congress legalized growing the plant in 2018. But Treasure State producers can in limited situations, now that the Montana Department of Agriculture has formalized its policy to enact a law passed this year.
Morgan Elliott with IND HEMP in Fort Benton lobbied for the change, saying markets for hemp-derived human health food have been slow to develop.
Elliott says producing dog treats, horse supplements and other products will allow Montanans to wring supplementary profits out of hemp byproducts and grain that doesn’t pass muster for human consumption.
“Having an offlet market like the feed market is really a great opportunity for us to capitalize on some of this lower hanging fruit and to try and monetize a lower value product,” Elliott says.
Under the new Montana law, hemp-derived feed products can’t have meaningful traces of CBD or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
The law includes language allowing hemp feed production for other livestock, including cattle, swine and poultry, if the FDA approves such use nationally.
Elliott says that could massively benefit hemp farmers, considering the strength of markets for corn and soybean animal feed products.