USDA Approves Iowa Hemp Rules

April 1, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On March 20, 2020, the USDA approved the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s hemp plan for the State of Iowa. IDALS will publish the official notice that the USDA accepted Iowa’s state plan in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on April 8th. This means that farmers are much closer to being able to grow hemp in Iowa during the 2020 season. It does remain illegal to grow, possess, buy or sell hemp in Iowa until official notice is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin (April 8) AND the grower has received a license from IDALS.

IDALS opened the application period for an Iowa hemp license on April 1, 2020.

The deadline for hemp applications is May 15, 2020. License fees start at $500 + $5 an acre and go up to $1,000 + $5 an acre, depending on the amount of acres in hemp production. Iowa producers can grow up to 40 acres of hemp under the new law. Beginning in 2021, hemp applications must be received by April 15. All applicants must pass a background check.

Iowa farmers should be aware of unanticipated application barriers. The application requires official fingerprints at an approved location. However, many locations able to conduct the official fingerprint service are currently closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Potential growers should also carefully consider whether there is a profitable market for hemp. For further reading, see Iowa State Extension article “The Opportunities and Challenges with Hemp” by Chad Hart. For more information on Iowa’s Hemp Law and to access the applications, visit All questions about applying for a hemp license or seed permit should be directed to or (515) 725-1470.