Interest in hemp related business activities has grown significantly in Delta County over the last several years. With the recent reclassification of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, it is anticipated that interest in the growing and processing of hemp will continue.
Delta County is supportive of the growing and processing of hemp within the county. This agricultural crop and its products offer another opportunity for our agricultural community to continue to diversify.
The county is receiving numerous inquiries about how we regulate hemp operations. The following outlines Delta County's regulations related to hemp:
• The State of Colorado defines industrial hemp as an agricultural crop. The cultivation of industrial hemp is regulated by the State Department of Agriculture.
• The county's specific development regulations exempt most agricultural operations from any land use approvals or regulations. Concentrated animal feeding operation, slaughter and rendering facilities are the only exception to this exemption.
• Agricultural exemptions from land use apply to both the growing/raising of agricultural products and the processing of those products onsite. For example, the county does not require review and approval of the growing of grapes, the processing of wine out of those grapes, or the tasting/sale/distribution of the resulting wine, on the same property. Similarly, the raising of goats, milking of those goats, and production of goat products (meat, cheese, lotions) would require no land use approvals. Likewise, a farm store or stand located on a farm that is growing produce would not require any approvals. The growing and processing of hemp would be treated similarly, even if the growing of the hemp occurs in a greenhouse or other structure.
However, a specific development review and approval would be required for a business that only processed or sold agricultural products that were not grown on the property.
An exempt agricultural operation can also process products from other agricultural producers without any land use review.
• Though the county does not review and approve the growing and processing of hemp for specific development, there may be other permits or approvals that are necessary for the growing or processing of hemp from the county's public health department or State of Colorado. For more information, contact the Delta County Health Department at 970-874-2165 or the Colorado Department of Agriculture at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agplants/industrial-hemp.
Additional questions can be directed to Delta County Planning at 970-874-2110.