Another major agriculture company is lobbying federal officials on hemp. Syngenta AG, which conducts genomic research and was nearly acquired by Monsanto for $45 billion in 2015, indicated in its Q4 2019 lobbying report that it is engaged in a “general discussion of legislative and administrative actions on industrial hemp.”
Paul Minehart, Syngenta’s head of corporate communications, said the company included hemp on its lobbying report because it spent time watching and researching regulations. He added that the company was not in direct contact with government officials.
“However, we are monitoring such matters as EPA’s registrations of pesticides for use on industrial hemp to provide internal updates to our businesses,” Minehart said.
Cannabis Wire first reported in September that Archer Daniels Midland, a major ag and food processing company, began lobbying on hemp in Q2 2019.
Scott Bennet, director of congressional affairs at the American Farm Bureau, said it is notable that Big Agriculture companies are eyeing the hemp market.
“There’s a lot of hype around hemp right now and I think these companies see an opportunity to capitalize on that,” he said.
Bennet said that while some—particularly small and medium sized farmers—might be uneasy about larger companies taking over the market, the corporations have the resources to devote to research and development.
“They’ll be the barometer to the long-term viability of hemp,” Bennet said.
Another, albeit smaller ag company, Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC, has been lobbying on a variety of hemp and cannabis regulation issues since 2018, with a focus on pesticide labeling.