There has been a lot of noise recently about growing the hemp crop. It is touted as the next billion or even trillion dollar crop. However, it is necessary to look at it from a proper perspective and not get carried away by the media hype. It is not a new crop and has been around since long. The main problem with hemp cultivation has been the legal barrier. It remains classified as a schedule I narcotics drug. Farmers need permits to grow this crop. It is only recently that some states have allowed hemp cultivation but even these states place lots of legal restrictions. Any farmer planning to grow hemp must be aware of these laws, rules, and regulations.
Most of the hemp produces used by the US companies are sourced from other countries. The strong demand for hemp produces from the industrial sector is cited as the reason farmers should venture into hemp cultivation. While there is a demand for the industrial hemp, most of it can be fulfilled by the hemp grown on the foreign soil. Other countries have been growing it for a long time so they have everything in place to grow it economically and profitably. American farmers can find it challenging to compete against the cheap foreign grown hemp. It is a labor-intensive crop and requires lots of water. Locations that have these resources in abundance have an advantage. It requires nutrient dense and humus rich soil.
It does not mean growing hemp on the US soil is an unprofitable idea. The trick is to first find the demand for it. Dedicating a large area of a farm at the first instance of hemp farming can be risky. Initially, only a small area of farmland should be dedicated to growing hemp. The farmer needs to research a lot before investing in the hemp cultivation. A big advantage of this crop is that it does not require any use of herbicides and pesticides. The farmer should find the market and prospective buyers for the hemp crop before sowing the seeds. There are many companies that use hemp to make different types of products. This list of companies includes food product manufacturing companies.
The demand for hemp products has been rising due to legal and cultural changes. More and more people are coming around to the idea of using hemp in industrial, food and medicinal products. Cultivating its crop has become easier due to the introduction of new farm machines. These machines have made it easier, quicker, more efficient and more economical to plant, grow and harvest the hemp crop. The political, legal and cultural barriers are coming down as well.
Hemp cultivation in the US is more profitable not when it is grown for its fiber but for the hemp oil cannabidiol or CBD. Growing hemp for CBD requires a different approach to farming. While traditional farm equipment can be used to grow and harvest fiber and seed hemp plants, manual harvesting is needed for the CBD producing hemp plants. Hemp cultivated for CBD can be highly lucrative. A crop with 10% CBD content can bring $25-$35 per pound. One plant can yield about one pound of CBD content. About 2500 plants can be grown in an acre of land. A farmer can earn about $60,000 from an acre of hemp crop.
Hemp experts advise farmers to start small when trying to enter the industrial hemp market. The biggest problem can come from legal issues. All cannabis plants are classified as potentially dangerous drugs and highly regulated. It is important to research this aspect of hemp cultivation. Even when it is grown only in a small part of the farm, it can affect the legal standing of other crops, other parts of the farmland, and the farming operation. Now several states place no restriction on hemp cultivation but the farmer has to comply with certain regulations. The opposition mainly comes from the Drug Enforcement Agency and anti-drug groups.
Hemp cultivation is economically viable but it requires lots of research and prior scouting for the buyers. Many hemp conferences are held every season to bring together all stakeholders associated with the hemp industry. Hemp growers get to meet the manufacturers during these trade events. They can view the new tools, equipment, and services that make hemp farming more profitable. Farming of industrial hemp can be suitable only in certain locations where there is demand for it by the local manufacturing units. The demand for CBD oil is increasing due to its new usage being found in the medical field. It is used to treat various medical and health conditions. Experts advise prospective hemp growers to first have a contract with a reliable buyer before growing this crop.