USDA approves development of hemp for Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 5:41 PM CDT
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The United States Department of Agriculture recently approved the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to grow hemp on tribal lands.

The signing of the Farm Bill in December of 2018 legalized industrial hemp.

Now, hemp is coming to the Turtle Mountain Reservation, in the form of the project "Green Buffalo."

“Our traditions are always to make use of every part of the buffalo for a purpose, and that’s kind of what we would like to adopt of this initiative,” said Sheldon Thomas, with the tribe.

The tribe will fully regulate the plant and offer licenses to farmers and ranchers, just in time for the growing season.

“Should be up and running by the first week in June,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the project will expand their efforts for agribusiness as well as tribal sovereignty.

“It offers some economic avenues for our tribal members to take advantage in this growing industry. I really think that tribes could lead the charge to this new industrial hemp business,” Thomas said.

Bringing a new industry to one of North Dakota's tribes.

The USDA approved 17 other tribes to grow the plant.