Hemp based feed for layers one step closer to regulatory approval in US

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImage/greenleaf123
© GettyImage/greenleaf123

Related tags hemp cake aafco Fda

Regulatory advances have been made in terms of getting the first ever approval for a hemp-based feed product in the US.

A not for profit organization has put forward a submission for a hemp product to become an approved animal feed ingredient in the US. The application will now be reviewed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the US Food and Drug Association-Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM).

Once approved, hempseed meal and cake can be legally used as commercial feed for laying hens in the US.

The push for this registration has been led by The Hemp Feed Coalition (HFC), with the regulatory approval project also involving researchers and US feed industry experts. It is the culmination of two years of hard work, said the US group.

That work included a clinical trial to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of hemp for laying hens. 

The Hemp Feed Coalition (HFC) began in 2018 as a pilot project under the Colorado Hemp Industries Association (COHIA) before forming its own non-profit organization in 2020. 

To meet the FDA-CVM rigorous standards of safety and efficacy, the hemp industry also had to demonstrate that hempseed cake and meal can be consistently grown and processed. 

“The first one is always the hardest; and it was definitely a group effort to submit the first ever application in the US for hemp as an official feed ingredient,”​ Hunter Buffington, executive director of the HFC, said of the first submission.

The 2018 US Farm bill saw recognition for hemp as an agricultural commodity. However, one of the biggest challenges around securing hemp legislation for feed in the US is the lack of research conducted domestically, Buffington told this site last year.

“While other countries never stopped feeding it, we have to prove the nutritional profile using American grown and processed hemp and then use published research (when it is available) and work with feed and species experts to create the protocols and methods to conduct the safety and efficacy feed trials in the US," ​she commented in May 2020.

On the horizon  

The HFC is now focusing on researching other hemp by-products: oil, sediment, hulls, pulp and screenings to investigate their benefit and their safety for use as feed ingredients. In addition, the coalition is set to carry out clinical trials in relation to using hemp feed in ruminants.

“Opening new markets is our secondary mission,”​ said Buffington. “Commoditizing safe and healthy by-products from hemp processing will provide farmer and processor revenue and a build a steady supply as the industry matures in the next few years.”

“The coalition has worked hard over the last two years and we are finally getting our first steps behind us in the world of federal approval; something that most every day Americans would be shocked to know is so heavily regulated. HFC doesn’t just represent the hemp industry but all the farmers and ranchers out there that deserve the opportunity to monetize their efforts and compete on the global market of industrial hemp,”​ said Morgan Elliott, co-founder, IND HEMP.

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