North Carolina’s industrial hemp pilot program is winding down it’s second year with some unfortunate news: Emily Febles, the program’s manager, has announced she is leaving for another position.
The position is a staff position with North Carolina State University.
“She is fabulous,” says Dr. Thomas Melton, chairman of the N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission, adding, “I cannot imagine anyone better in this role. It is a big loss.”
Reached just as he was departing a flight, Melton said that Febles has managed the program as it’s grown to include hundreds of licensed hemp farmers in the state. He described her role broadly as covering education, rules, public information and “making the program successful.”
Melton says Febles has taken a position in Oregon. She came to North Carolina’s industrial hemp pilot program from Washington where she worked as the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program coordinator for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Febles is considered as an expert in industrial hemp policy nationwide.
“In the short time that I’ve known her, it’s been a pleasure learning from her experience,” says Blake Butler, executive director of the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association. “She brings a wealth of experience to any state because she was in a state with an active pilot program before she came to North Carolina. We definitely are going miss her.”
A spokesperson from the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Phil Wilson, said the state is not planning a formal announcement.
It is unclear at this time who will be the next program manager for the state’s hemp pilot program.
In her most recent post on the program’s blog, Febles highlights the work of each the program’s researchers. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Industrial hemp production is legal in North Carolina, but only as part of the state’s pilot program as allowed under federal law.
In 2015, the N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws per the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture’s website. The original law was modified in 2016 by House Bill 992.
[Headermage by Evan Anderson. Febles image courtesy N.C. State University.]
BY Rhiannon Fionn
Editor & Publisher
Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.