Proponents of using hemp in animal feed have seen another milestone with the approval of a Montana proposal authorizing hemp food ingredients to be marketed as commercial feed.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill this week, clearing the way for farmers to use hemp in animal feed for pets and horses, and for other livestock once approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, the agency that gives federal approval for animal feed ingredients.

The new Montana law:

  • Clarifies that hemp seed food ingredients and hemp-derived products are included in the definition of commercial feed.
  • Provides authority for hemp to be used in commercial feed for pets and horses.
  • Includes feed used for livestock, contingent upon FDA-DVM’s approval of hemp as an approved additive or defined ingredient in animal feed for livestock.

The bill, which passed unanimously in the Montana legislature, earned support from the state’s Farm Bureau, farmers’ union, and associations representing livestock and grain growers. It was also championed by Montana-based IND Hemp, an industrial hemp oilseed and fiber processing and supply company, and hemp lobby firm Agricultural Hemp Solutions.

According to a statement from IND Hemp, each state’s agriculture department has the regulatory authority over what can be considered approved feed in their state, and many states, such as Montana, regulate horses as livestock and choose to follow the regulatory guidance of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, a governing body for animal feed use.

Earlier this year, the Hemp Feed Coalition completed its first submission for hemp to become an approved animal-feed ingredient for consideration by the AAFCO and the FDA-CVM.