Organizations issue joint open letter to ensure safe use of hemp as animal-feed ingredient


They are encouraging state agriculture leaders to support more education, research, and procedures to confirm hemp's safety as an animal-feed ingredient.

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Gill /

Seventeen industry and regulatory organizations issued a joint open letter1 to state agriculture leadership, urging them to support higher education and scientific studies of hemp to ensure its safety as an animal-feed ingredient before any Federal or state approval.

"We understand the importance of supporting the hemp industry and, yet we also believe it's simply too soon to know if hemp is safe for farm and ranch animals, as well as our pets,” remarked the co-signing organizations, in a release.

“Our goal is for more research to ensure the safety and well-being of our animals and our agricultural industry,” they added.

According to the release,2 interest in the use of hemp in commercial animal feed has surged since the passage of the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act ("Farm Bill") that expanded the legal production of hemp in the US. However, the use of hemp in animal feed is still under the jurisdiction of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulatory programs for commercial animal feed.

Additionally, lawmakers are being lobbied to consider legislation enabling the use of hemp in feed ingredients before the completion of essential scientific research into its safety and before the necessary review of the FDA.

Currently, no hemp or hemp derivative ingredients have been approved through the established animal-feed ingredient approved pathways.2 Therefore, this open letter displays concern surrounding animal health and safety; safety of food from production animals entering the human food chain; and the adverse effect to farmers, ranchers, and the animal feed industry.

Co-signing organizations call on state agriculture leaders to take the following suggested actions:

  • Rather than initiating statutory or administrative approval of hemp in animal feed at the state level, work toward ingredient definitions using the defined regulatory pathways used for every animal feed ingredient.
  • Promote research through universities or private labs so the safety and utility of hemp can be completely understood before being permitted for commercial purposes.
  • Further collect information and work on applications submissions through the established animal feed ingredient review process.

Signatories include2: Association of American of Feed Control Officials, Association of Food and Drug Officials, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Academy of Veterinary Consultants, American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Dairy Science Association, American Feed Industry Association, American Horse Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, FASS, National Animal Supplement Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Pork Producers Council, Nutrition Specialty of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and Pet Food Institute.


  1. Joint open letter of concern over the allowance of hemp in animal feed. Association of American Feed Control Officials. February 9, 2022. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  2. 17 organizations issue joint open letter to state agriculture leaders. News release. The Association of American Feed Control Officials. February 16, 2022. Accessed February 16, 2022.

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