In the recent session of the Nebraska Legislature, the Agriculture Committee considered bills that would have expanded industrial hemp research, and authorized Nebraskans to sell cottage foods from their homes.

A bill that would have repealed the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act was vetoed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The committee did not advance the industrial hemp bill, LB 1133, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne.

It would have required the state department of agriculture to establish and oversee a five-year industrial hemp research program comprised of planting, cultivation, testing and analysis of industrial hemp demonstration plots by growers who are licensed by the agriculture department.

The department also would have been responsible for obtaining any federal permits or waivers necessary to grow industrial hemp in Nebraska and would have promoted the research and development of industrial hemp as well as commercial markets for it.

Also not advanced from committee was LB 764, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford.

Current state law provides an exemption to the Nebraska Pure Food Act that allows for the sale of foods such as baked goods, fruits, vegetables and herbs prepared in private homes to be sold directly to a consumer at a farmers’ market if the consumer is informed by a sign at the sale location that the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection.

LB 764 would have expanded that exemption to additional types of direct consumer sales.