April 30, 2019
Dear AGUA Member,
There has been a lot of conversation this growing season around the production of Industrial Hemp. As most of us are aware, the Farm Bill was passed and signed by President Trump in December 2018. However, there has been little to no policies issued by the Federal Government conveying the use of “Federal Stored” water for the propose of cultivating Industrial Hemp.
At a meeting with the South Eastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, (SECWCD), on January 17, 2019 the Bureau of Reclamation, (BOR), stated they would defer their policies to the contracting agent of allowing “Federal Stored” water for the use of cultivating Hemp. Currently, SECWCD takes the following position on cultivating Hemp in the 2019-2020 growing season, which was sent to the AGUA Engineer by Mr. Lee Miller, General Counsel for the SECWCD:
“I understand that the Bureau of Reclamation is of the position that all water stored in Pueblo Reservoir continues to carry with it the federal restrictions until it is consumed beneficially. For the purpose of your 2019 replacement plan which is due Friday, SECWCD is not positioned to take a different position. The District continues to be committed to working with water users to address these issues in a constructive fashion”
Therefore, AGUA will not be changing any policies, nor pricing, regarding the cultivation of Hemp in the 2019 growing season. We will continue to allocate “Cannabis Specified Water” to those farms that have received their Growing License and have already requested this specific water. AGUA works hard to make sure every farm under our organization stays viable and successful. However, due to the nature of the Cannabis Regulations under the current growing season, we have allocated our entire allotment of Cannabis Water. Our “Native Sources” are limited and therefore have been allocated to the fullest. If you have not received a designated Cannabis Allocation, you are not allowed to use your Agricultural Water Allocation for the purpose of cultivating Hemp or Marijuana in the 2019-2020 Season.
Please call me with any questions.
Kevin W. Niles
Arkansas Groundwater Users Association