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Hemp feed application expects green light in August

After three years of evaluation, an AAFCO committee has given hemp seed meal a tentative nod of approval ahead of its annual meeting.

Hemp Seed Oil
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Hemp seed meal may be approved for use in animal feed — at least within laying hen diets — before the end of the year.

A definition of hemp seed meal received tentative approval by an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) committee this year, according to Austin Therrell, AAFCO's executive director. Hemp seed meal will still need to be approved by the AAFCO board of directors and by the AAFCO general membership before it can be legally distributed as an approved feed ingredient in the U.S., Therrell said. The final vote is expected to take place in August at AAFCO's annual meeting in San Antonio.

The Hemp Feed Coalition, which led the application, hailed the news as a “monumental milestone” for the industry.

“The people who give [the application] the most scrutiny have given the nod of approval,” Morgan Tweet, executive director of the Hemp Feed Coalition, said. “There are no more studies. It's just waiting for a group of people to get together and vote for it.”

Hemp seed contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, oils and proteins that may be beneficial to laying hens. It can serve a similar role in layer diets as soy or canola meal, while also improving the quality and amino acid content of eggs, according to the Hemp Feed Coalition.

Unlike hemp biomass, hemp seeds do not contain THC, which research suggests may contaminate milk if fed to cows, or CBD, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says can only be fed to animals with a veterinary prescription. The presence of either in hemp seed will be considered a contaminant under the definition forwarded by the Hemp Feed Coalition, Tweet said.

Once the first application is approved, the Hemp Feed Coalition plans to focus on gaining approvals for hemp seed in additional species — starting initially with ruminants and then following up with broilers. Tweet said she believes the approval process will go faster for these additional species, once the approval for laying hens hits the books.

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