The Legislature gave first round approval this week to LB 657. Introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, the bill authorizes the growing, processing, and handling of industrial hemp under regulation of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and provides the authority necessary for the department to prepare and implement a state plan for purposes of the hemp provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. The committee-amended version of the bill adopted by senators also temporarily expands participation in the hemp research pilot program to authorize wider participation for the 2019 growing season. Nebraska Farm Bureau supports LB 657. Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth prioritized the bill.