50 hemp plants cut and removed during overnight hours Sunday or early Monday morning
September 9, 2020 | Montpelier, VT - Earlier this week the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) was notified of a hemp crop theft that occurred on Pony Farm Road in Moretown, Vermont. In the early morning hours of Monday September 7th, the hemp field of Fancy Plants adjacent to Austin Heights Road was accessed by unknown individuals who cut down and removed 50 hemp plants. Signage was visible at the field indicating that the crop was Hemp/CBD. The theft appears to have been premeditated and involve more than one individual, utilizing shearing tools and large vehicles to remove the 500 pounds of hemp. The 50 plants comprised the entire hemp crop of the Fancy Plants business.
The cultivation of hemp has been legal in the state of Vermont for several years. Hemp farmers have experienced theft in previous seasons at harvest time, and this year now appears to be similar. In Vermont, only registrants of the Hemp Program are legally able to possess hemp crops in registered locations or to sell hemp crops in the marketplace accompanied by appropriate documentation including test results that show compliance with the Vermont Hemp Rules.
VAAFM is recommending that hemp farmers take care to protect their crops and report thefts when they occur to the Hemp Program and to law enforcement. Some options to protect hemp crops in the field include installing appropriate fencing, motion activated lights and cameras like trail cameras, and no-trespassing signs that include a statement that the crop is industrial hemp. The sign can also include that the property is under video surveillance. It may also be useful to enlist the watchful eye of helpful neighbors. VAAFM does not generally disclose “the location of parcels where hemp will be grown, including coordinates, maps, and parcel identifiers” as that information is confidential and not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. However, registrants whose crop land is adjacent to public rights-of-way may find it difficult to protect their crops privacy due to high public visibility, so the aforementioned protective measures are highly recommended.
The owner contacted the Vermont State Police to report the theft. If anyone witnessed anything unusual during the late evening hours of Sunday or early morning of Monday in the area of Pony Farm Road in Moretown, please contact investigators at the VSP Middlesex Barracks at 808-229-9191.
To see the Vermont State Police press release on this incident, visit: http://vtstatepolice.blogspot.com/2020/09/middlesex-barracks-theft.html
For more information about the VAAFM Hemp Program, visit: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/public-health-agricultural-resource-management-division/hemp-program
For questions regarding hemp crop concerns, please contact:
Policy and Communications Director | VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
802-622-4662 | firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions regarding the theft investigation, please contact:
Public Information Officer | Vermont State Police