Colorado livestock could be eating hemp as early as next year, thanks to a bill directing the Colorado Department of Agriculture to study the use of industrial hemp in animal feed.
As The Greeley Tribune reports, the study would be headed by the commissioner of agriculture and would result in a recommendation by the end of the year.
The bill initially intended to allow hemp in livestock feed without a study, but State Senator Kerry Donovan said a study could help avoid further complications with the Food and Drug Administration, which currently prohibits the use of hemp in animal feed because it is considered an adulterating substance.
The federal government started allowing farmers to grow hemp under limited circumstances in 2014.
Duane Sinning, the Department of Agriculture's assistant director of plant industries, said the Congressional Research Service identified 25,000 uses for industrial hemp in a report released this year. He said when any of those uses become well-known, it helps legitimize and fuel the industry.
The bill passed the legislature unanimously and awaits Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature.