Seventy years ago, there were twice as many acres devoted to hemp production as there were in 2018. As part of the “Hemp For Victory” campaign during World War II, U.S. farmers dedicated more than 150,000 acres to the crop.
That past-to-present acreage gap is expected to close—quickly. With the signing of the 2018 farm bill, which classified hemp as a commodity crop, and fewer than 10 states left to pass laws giving the crop a green light, 1 million acres are on the horizon, says Michael Bowman, chair of the National Hemp Association. The window being opened to hemp, and its high-profit potential, is being welcomed by farmers who are weary of the slump in commodity prices. A recent Farm Journal survey of almost 970 producers found that 48% said they’d be interested in growing cannabis, and 24% were unsure. See more results below and in our cover story.
Although this isn’t the first time cannabis has been grown in the U.S., it’s new for the farmers, retailers, consultants and suppliers supporting the budding industry. We’ve lost an entire generation’s know-how with the crop. And today, that has meant the consequences of a steep learning curve. This is only exasperated by the state-by-state patchwork of regulations and no national framework for crop protection labels and approvals.
So far in hemp’s latest chapter, farmers and their advisers have relied on networking with peers and not being afraid to ask questions. There’s no better time than now to ask if your business will help farmers with hemp. For more on this topic, visit AgWeb.com/cannabis
How Farmers Feel About Hemp
Recently, Farm Journal conducted a survey of almost 970 agricultural producers about what they understand and how they feel about the cannabis industry. Here are some results: