U.S- After undergoing three years of rigorous evaluation, hemp seed meal is on the brink of securing approval for use in animal feed, particularly within laying hen diets, ahead of the year’s end.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) committee tentatively approved a definition of hemp seed meal this year, as confirmed by Austin Therrell, AAFCO’s executive director, which is a significant milestone.

However, before hemp seed meal can be legally distributed as an approved feed ingredient in the United States, it must gain approval from the AAFCO Board of Directors and the AAFCO general membership. The final decisive vote is slated to occur in August at AAFCO’s annual meeting in San Antonio.

The Hemp Feed Coalition, spearheading the application process, welcomed this development as a “monumental milestone” for the industry, signaling a significant step forward in harnessing the potential of hemp seed meal.

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

Hemp seed boasts a diverse array of vitamins, minerals, oils, and proteins that could prove advantageous for laying hens. It is anticipated to play a similar role in layer diets as soy or canola meal while enhancing the quality and amino acid content of eggs, according to the Hemp Feed Coalition.

Importantly, unlike hemp biomass, hemp seeds do not contain THC or CBD. The absence of these compounds eliminates concerns regarding the contamination of milk or the need for veterinary prescriptions, as highlighted by Tweet.

Looking ahead, once the initial application secures approval, the Hemp Feed Coalition aims to pursue approvals for hemp seed in additional species, beginning with ruminants and subsequently broilers. 

Tweet expressed confidence that the approval process for these additional species will be expedited following the successful acceptance of hemp seed in laying hen diets.

As the agriculture industry continues to explore alternative feed ingredients, the potential approval of hemp seed meal marks a significant stride towards diversifying feed options and enhancing the nutritional profile of animal diets.

According to Facts and Factors, the Global Industrial Hemp Market Size was valued at US$4.5 Billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$17.24 Billion by 2030. Approval of hemp in animal feed production could push this potential growth even further.

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