Industrial Hemp Ag-Pilot Program for 2020 Planting Season

The 2014 Farm Bill permits an institute of higher learning or MDARD to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Persons who are registered or licensed under Michigan’s Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act may apply to MDARD to participate in Michigan’s Industrial Hemp Ag-Pilot Program.

When MDARD approves an ag-pilot program application, a person participating in the Industrial Hemp Ag-Pilot program will be required to enter into a research agreement with MDARD. Persons who obtain the required registration or license and comply with the terms of the research agreement will be considered by MDARD to be conducting research on behalf of the Department as permitted under the 2014 Farm Bill.

If you would like to get registered and/or licensed and participate in the ag-pilot program for 2020, please mail in your applications (including the ag-pilot program), payment, maps, background check, and all other information to the address at the top of the application(s).


Step 1: Download, print and complete the appropriate application(s) in their entirety.

Hemp Grower Registration Application ($100)

Grower Application Checklist

Required for those who want to plant, propagate, grow, cultivate, or harvest live hemp plants or viable hemp seeds. If you intend to sell industrial hemp, you will also need to obtain a processor-handler license (See below).

Hemp Processor-Handler Application ($1,350)

Processor-Handler Application Checklist

Required for those who want to process (convert raw industrial hemp into a marketable form), handle (possess, store, or transport industrial hemp on premises owned, operated or controlled by a registered grower or a licensed hemp processor-handler), broker (to engage or participate in the marketing of industrial hemp by acting as an intermediary or negotiator between prospective buyers and sellers) or market (promote or sell industrial hemp or an industrial hemp commodity or product) industrial hemp.

Step 2: Download, print and complete the 2020 Hemp Ag-Pilot Program Application and the Pilot Program Application Checklist.  You must submit an Ag-Pilot Program Application to participate, in addition to the grower and/or processor-handler application(s). 

Step 3: Thoroughly review the terms of the Sample Research Agreement.

Step 4: The applicant (person signing the applications) MUST submit the following:

  1. One set of maps for all locations where you will grow, handle, store, process, broker or market industrial hemp. Maps should be on 8.5" x 11" paper and must clearly identify locations.  Note: is a good resource.  When the page comes up, click on the Satellite icon in the lower right hand corner and then enter the target address in the box at the top.  Left click on the location of the field or facility to set a pin to show the address/coordinates. You can see the map for the Constitution Hall parking lot an example.  Your application(s) must include the GPS coordinates for the locations. 

  2. Check or money order made payable to the State of Michigan for the appropriate registration and/or license fees; do not send cash.  Credit card payments cannot be accepted at this time.  You may submit one check/money order for both amounts. 

  3. A printed copy of your background check from the Michigan State Police, Internet Criminal history access tool (ICHAT). Use these instructions for the Michigan State Police ICHAT system.

  4. If the applicant is a person that is not an individual (sole ownership), the full name of each officer and director, and partner, member or owner owning in excess of 10% of equity or stock, including his or her birthdate, title and valid/monitored electronic mail address shall be included on the application. In addition, a notarized attestation by the applicant that these individuals are free from felony drug convictions for the last 10 years must be submitted.  In lieu of the attestation, you can submit an ICHAT for each person owning in excess of 10% of equity or stock. You may use this document for the attestation: Sworn Attestation for 2020 Hemp Ag-Pilot Program

        Note:  If you have any questions about completing the forms, you can contact 

the MDARD Customer Service Center at 800-292-3939  (M-F, 8 – 5). 

Step 5: After your Hemp Grower Registration and/or Hemp Processor-Handler License is processed and issued by MDARD, you will be able to apply to participate in the Ag-Pilot Program and if approved, enter into a research agreement.

  1. The Central Licensing Unit will process your application(s). When the license numbers are issued, they will add that information to the ag-pilot application and the research agreement. The research agreement will be mailed to you for your signature.

  2. Return the signed research agreement to MDARD in the enclosed return envelope.

  3. Once received, it will be validated with the MDARD Director’s signature and a copy returned to you.


Exemptions from Licensing:

A) If you are a processor or testing facility licensed under the medical marijuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to MCL 332.27801, you are exempt from MDARD’s Industrial Hemp Processor-Handler license requirements. You must bring proof of licensure along with you.

B) If you are a college/university, you are exempt from registration and license requirements. However, MDARD requests that you complete the appropriate application form so the agency can track all locations in Michigan where industrial hemp is being grown, processed, handled and marketed.