According to a new report by the Marijuana Moment, a hemp industry executive has been appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to a federal advisory committee on trade issues. Officials announced the hemp advocates appointment on Friday.
Kevin Latner is vice president of marketing for the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC). According to the Marijuana Moment, he will serve “as a member of a panel focused on trade in processed foods alongside representatives from major well-known brands and organizations. This appears to be the first time a hemp market advisor has been appointed to formally guide federal policy since the crop was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.”
The panel is “an important avenue to support export marketing by providing input into government policies on trade agreements and foreign import standards,” Latner told Marijuana Moment.
“Because U.S. exports of industrial hemp and hemp products are relatively new, it is critical to insert hemp into existing agreements and incorporate it into ongoing negotiations,” he said. “I am honored to be able to represent farmers, producers and product manufacturers through my service on” the committee.
The advisory panel includes representatives from a wide-range of companies including PepsiCo, Campbell’s and Kraft Heinz Company, among many others. The group is intended to “advise, consult with, and make recommendations” on matters “that are of concern to the United States and to its consumers, producers, processors, and traders of processed foods in connection with the trade policy activities undertaken by the United States”. They are also meant to “provide advice and information regarding trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production and trade concerning processed foods.”
“NIHC is honored to have been chosen to have a voice at the table to represent the interests of hemp farmers and the hemp industry,” NIHC Board Chairman Patrick Atagi said in a press release. “It’s critical to defend U.S. leadership in industrial hemp production by having regulations focused on trade that expand market access. NIHC participation on the [Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees for Trade] reflects our commitment to support farmers and producer trade interests and we look forward to the good work Kevin will deliver on behalf of hemp farmers across the country”.
The Marijuana Moment states “Latner’s appointment represents another step toward normalizing the industry since the non-intoxicating cannabis crop’s legalization through the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA has been actively engaged in rulemaking for the industry, adjusting its programs to accommodate hemp farmers and approving state, tribal and territory hemp regulatory plans.”