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industrial hemp farming 500

"Hemp: Do Farmers Want to Grow It ?"

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that is low in THC (less than .3% by federal mandate), and high in CBD (or phytocannabinoid rich extract). CBD is a compound that is used in various tinctures, oils, foods, and drinks. Hemp is a tall, thin, woody plant that grows well in climates all over the planet earth. Unlike its sister plant marijuana, consuming, vaping, or smoking hemp, hemp oils like CBD, or hemp extracts will not get you high because it’s non-psychoactive. Hemp has been used historically in the creation of textiles like ship sails, ropes, and industrial materials for hundreds of years. With the legalization of the 2014 Hemp Farm Bill during Obama’s final presidential term, hemp farming became a possibility in nearly every state in the U.S. Listen up, farmers: hemp is worth about 2.5 times more than corn and soy crops, and is much better for the soil and the environment, too. Read this article to find out more about the history of hemp.

Where Can Hemp Be Grown?

Industrial hemp cultivation is legal in 33 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Cultivating industrial hemp commercially is legal in 16 states, and pilot industrial hemp programs and research programs are legal in about 20 states. If you want to cultivate hemp as a farmer, in most states you can.

Ryan Loflin & Rocky Mountain Hemp: Colorado’s Hemp Farming Success Story

Ryan Loflin is a hemp farmer in Colorado who started farming in 2013. Loflin grew up in a farming family, but had abandoned the farm for the construction industry due to the low $40 per acre he made off of farming wheat. Loflin stated, “I saw Canadian farmers pulling in $300 per acre from hemp...I studies it and learned all I could.” Loflin leased the family farm from his dad and sowed 60 acres with European hemp seed; he upped the acreage to 520 in 2016 and says the return is about $300 to $1,800 per acre. Compare that to Colorado’s predicted 2017 prices of $468.35 per acre of corn and $149.42 per acre of wheat, and you can see why farmers might want to add hemp to their farms, or pull up all that wheat and plant hemp seeds like Loflin did.

What Can Hemp Be Used For?

Industrial hemp can be used for a diverse collection of products, including rope, boat sails, green construction materials, strong thread, nutraceuticals, nutritional supplements, foods, biofuel, plastics, animal feed, carpet, shoes, and many others. Hemp products have been sold in the United States for years, but cultivation was not legal again until recently; the U.S. used to and still does get much of its industrial hemp products from other countries where hemp cultivation is legal. The largest country with legal industrial hemp cultivation is China, where much of the U.S.’ hemp fiber, seeds, and other products come from. What if we could invest that $300 million annually in our own economy? Sounds like a great idea to me! There are four basic types of hemp materials people can use in various capacities for products: hemp oil, hemp seed cake, hemp fiber, and hemp shiv or hurd (this is the woody core of the hemp plant, chopped up into usable small pieces). To see what hemp shiv looks like, go here.  Hemp oil and seed cake are both made from the hemp seeds, while hemp fiber and shiv comes from the woody stems of the hemp plant.

Why Should Farmers Grow Hemp?

Hemp is in high demand in the United States, and it brings in more money than other traditional crops for struggling farmers. Hemp is good for the land, and can help increase the quality of the soil it is planted in, even removing toxins from the soil and storing them. In addition to the products we can make out of the hemp plant and the money we can save on importing hemp and hemp products, hemp naturally suppresses weeds, can be grown easily without the use of pesticides or herbicides in many areas of the world, isolates pollen, improves soils when used in crop rotation, and naturally aerates soils due to its deep roots. These are all excellent reasons to farm hemp -- you can also use hemp seed in animal feed if you have animals on your farm already. This study demonstrated that laying hens were not affected adversely by hemp seed or hemp seed oil in their feed. So, farming hemp is good for your pocketbook and good for the planet.

Is Hemp Farming Legal in Your State?

First, you need to make sure that hemp can be legally farmed in your specific state (scroll down to the bottom for a map and a list), and then you need to check out your state laws -- try your state government website and look for agriculture.  State websites should help you find out how to get a cultivation permit, how much you can cultivate at a time, and how you can sell it to turn a profit. Hemp Technologies has an excellent website with lots of information on hemp farming -- you can check it out here. If you’re interested, Australia’s Hemp Party also has this basic guide to farming hemp that may be helpful. When farming hemp, you have to make sure that your THC levels are low enough, (below .5% in most states), and testing will be a part of farming hemp in any state. There are also some issues with growing hemp in the U.S., and below I’ve listed a few of them.

Difficulties of Hemp Farming

Despite the hurdles many states face in hemp farming, there were about 6,900 acres being grown nationwide, according to The Cannabist. The crop is not yet being tracked by the United States Department of Agriculture because it is simply too new to agriculture at this point. Hemp seeds are difficult to find in the United States, and most must be imported at this point -- they may cost $5 to $10 per seed and must be low in THC. Colorado, Tennessee, and Kentucky grow the most industrial hemp, so living in one of these three states may make farming hemp a bit easier for you.

To answer the question this article poses, it appears that U.S. farmers would like to grow hemp (and are in Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky and other states) for reasons like increased revenues, basic harvesting machinery requirements, less pesticide costs and use, better soil health, and declining sales for other crops like tobacco. If you want to try your hand at it, by all means, go ahead -- just make sure it’s legal in your state and you follow the rules for farming and the sales of your materials. Happy farming!


Julie K Godard

About Julie Godard:

Julie, a guest blogger of Green Lotus Hemp Products, is a strong advocate of cannabis, both in medical and recreational forms, for expanding our knowledge of medicine, culture, and the reality of our planet. She is an experienced freelance writer, content strategist, and cannabis industry researcher with a deep concern for social welfare and love of scientific discovery.


 Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All of GLH products are sold as nutritional supplements, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


About Green Lotus Hemp

Green Lotus Hemp
600 17th Street Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 888-811-HEMP (4367)
(Not a Retail Store)