Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Author: Paul James

Expanding US Hemp Acreage Proves Hemp Is The Next Big Cash Crop

Total U.S. hemp acreage is rapidly increasing, as legalization spreads across the country. In 2017, hemp fields expanded by 163 percent across the country. That’s over 25,000 acres of hemp…

Total U.S. hemp acreage is rapidly increasing, as legalization spreads across the country.

In 2017, hemp fields expanded by 163 percent across the country. That’s over 25,000 acres of hemp grown across 19 different states. With more states opening their doors to hemp, the speculation arises, how much further can U.S. hemp acreage grow?

Hemp experts are predicting sales of hemp products could reach $2 billion by 2022. That’s nearly triple the profits from current levels. In order to understand these predictions, it’s important to also look at who is growing hemp, and how much. Through this, we can discover which states are leading the way and inspiring the rest of the country.

U.S. hemp acreage is growing rapidly despite a complicated tapestry of state hemp laws, which vary widely from place to place. Hemp plants grow tall and leafy in a densely packed field.

U.S. hemp acreage is growing rapidly despite a complicated tapestry of state hemp laws, which vary widely from place to place.

Since hemp remains in a legal gray area on a federal level, laws work differently from state to state. A hemp farmer in Colorado might have an easier time growing acres upon acres compared to the recent legalized state of Illinois. Through this information, we’ll begin to understand not only the states where hemp will spread but also how the country as a whole can benefit from progressive hemp laws.

TOP 5 STATES WITH THE MOST HEMP ACREAGE

In comparison to 2016, last year was a huge milestone for the hemp industry. States had doubled and tripled their hemp efforts, more licenses were issued, and more people were beginning to understand the benefits of this next cash crop. The following statistics are from VoteHemp’s 2017 US Hemp Crop Report:

  • 25,713 acres of hemp were grown within 19 states.
  • 32 universities conducted various research projects for hemp.
  • 1,456 state hemp licenses were issued.

In 2017, there were 5 particular states who made huge hemp acreage leaps in comparison to 2016. Knowing of their success within the industry, it’s possible to examine the laws within each of the top five states in order to better understand how other states can increase their production.

#5 – New York – 2,000 Acres

On New York’s official state hemp website, it’s claimed the Governor has taken notable actions to inspire industrial hemp production within the state. It began, in 2015 when New York allowed a select amount of educational institutions to harvest hemp.

A person in a dark hoodie standing in a hemp field gives a thumbs up. In front of them is a huge pile of freshly harvested hemp. Increasing hemp acreage in the United States reveals this crop's immense economic potential.

Increasing hemp acreage in the United States reveals this crop’s immense economic potential.

Part of the reason New York hemp acreage increased in 2017 is due to the removal of the cap on the number of sites allowed to grow hemp. The state’s program expanded to include new farmers and businesses. This allowed for the original 30 acres of hemp in 2016 to grow to 2,000 acres in 2017.

#4 – North Dakota – 3,020 Acres

In 2017, North Dakota had only 34 growers of hemp out of 42 applications. Unlike New York, this state’s 2017 Industrial Hemp Pilot Program requires those who hold a license to either “(1) be part of an agricultural or academic research program conducted by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture or by an institution of higher education; and/or (2) obtain annually a registration issued by the DEA.”

It should be noted that North Dakota made impressive progress with their hemp cultivation. In 2016, they had a mere 70 acres grown. In 2017, total hemp acreage number grew to 3,020. However, part of the reason the state hit such a high number is due to the expanding amount of land each farmer operates on rather than looser regulations.

#3 – Kentucky – 3,271 Acres

Another of the leading states within the hemp industry is Kentucky. Back in 2016, it grew a staggering 2,525 acres. That number grew to 3,271 acres in 2017. Part of the reason Kentucky has been paving way within the industry is due to the early start it had over the majority of the country.

#2 – Oregon – 3,469 Acres

Oregon’s hemp laws are similar to New York and Kentucky. Any farmer or business can apply to grow and/or handle hemp. The price per application is quite hefty at $1,300. Compare that to Vermont’s low application fee of $25!

However, ignoring the price tag of registration, Oregon has less confining laws in terms of growing cannabis in general compared to the rest of the country. Due to this, total industrial hemp acreage jumped from 500 in 2016 to 3,469 in 2017.

#1 – Colorado – 9,700 Acres

For years to come, it seems as though Colorado is going lead the hemp industry. Even in 2016, the state had more hemp acreage compared to any other in 2017 — at 5,921 acres. Yet, they nearly doubled those efforts the following year.

This might not come as a surprise considering Colorado was one of the first states to institute cannabis legalization.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont's hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont’s hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

HEMP ACREAGE: GROWTH MATTERS, TOO

Though the states mentioned above led the way for hemp acreage in 2017, it should be noted that other states made great progress as well. These include:

  • Washington went from 0 acres in 2016 to 175 acres in 2017.
  • Vermont went from 180 acres in 2016 to 575 acres in 2017.
  • Montana went from 0 acres in 2016 to 542 acres in 2017.
  • Minnesota went from 51 acres in 2016 to 1,205 acres in 2017.

These number are crucial in comprehending the future status of the hemp industry and U.S. agriculture as a whole. Since many U.S. hemp products depend on imported hemp, growth in hemp acreage is vital to the overall growth of the hemp industry.

If hemp acreage increased so much just within a year, it’s possible — with further efforts towards hemp legalization — it might reach even higher profits than predicted.

1 Comment on Expanding US Hemp Acreage Proves Hemp Is The Next Big Cash Crop

Hemp In Space: Researchers Send Hemp Plants To International Space Station

Hemp in space sounds like a science fiction dream. Earth researchers will soon begin growing hemp in space on a tiny laboratory aboard the International Space Station, created by Space Tango in partnership with Anavii Market.

Hemp in space sounds like a science fiction dream. It will soon to be an exciting new reality thanks to a partnership of terrestrial firms hoping to learn about the effects of microgravity on the crop.

Space Tango, a start-up business from the heart of Kentucky seeks to harvest hemp in space. Co-founder and chairman, Kris Kimel, wants to lean about how the biology and quality of the crop will develop without the influence of gravity. The goal is to see if the medicinal value of cannabinoids prospers on this new frontier and to offer unique CBD products to the public.

Anavii Market is partnering with Space Tango on their journey into this new frontier. Anavii Market is an online CBD marketplace that seeks to improve quality reliability in the industry. Their goal is to provide a trusted source of CBD to the public.

A photo of the International Space Station in orbit over earth, Space Tango and Anavii Market will soon begin experimenting with the immense potential of growing hemp in space.

Space Tango and Anavii Market will soon begin experimenting with the immense potential of growing hemp in space. (Photo: NASA)

We caught up with Kimel to learn about Space Tango’s hemp project.

He told us, “We’re primarily interested in looking at how biomedical … systems operate and change when removed from the gravity well of earth.”

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT GROWING HEMP IN SPACE

Prior to Space Tango, Kimel was the founder and president of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), “which is where this notion of looking into space and microgravity kind of germinated.” As his interest grew, he left the company and moved over to Space Tango full time.

After nearly a decade of research on this new frontier, Kimel tells us there’s still so little they know and so much to learn when it comes to how plants develop in a gravity stress-free environment. Since hemp has had such little research within the last century and only recently has had its doors opened to scientists, Space Tango remains optimistic in breaking through new discoveries.

Kimel and his team are aware that principle biological systems (i.e. cells, organisms) become scrambled grown without gravity. In turn, this “opens up new pathways, new understandings, of those systems that you’d never see on earth.” Prior to their experiments with hemp, they’ve developed medical implants which can only be manufactured in space.

HEMP IN SPACE: HOW IT ALL WORKS

Permanently installed on the International Space Station are two research and development laboratories for the Space Tango team. Within each of those labs are 21 component parts of operations known as CubeLabs. The purpose of these modules is to reduce the amount of hands-on interaction required to grow organisms in space. They’re about the size of a “Kleenex tissue box and fully equipped with microtechnology.”

CubeLabs function to:

  • Operate independently.
  • Supply a responsive payload.
  • Process data and images to earth in real-time.
  • Reduce application development life-cycle.
  • Decrease astronaut interplay.
Space Tango's module on the International Space Station features multiple "CubeLabs," modular research labs each the size of a box of tissues. The firm will soon be growing hemp in space in one of these labs.

Space Tango’s module on the International Space Station features multiple “CubeLabs,” modular research labs each the size of a box of tissues. The firm will soon be growing hemp in space in one of these labs. (Photo: NASA)

The purpose of these CubeLabs is to find medical solutions which can be applied back here on earth. This is also Space Tango’s primary interest in cultivating hemp. “Our science team has looked at recent developments of CBD and we think an enhance in cannabis and CBD holds great potential for treatment of serious conditions such as epilepsy or migraine headaches.”

Furthermore, due to cannabis’s entanglement in legal issues, new research is constantly being developed. Kris believes him and his team have the ability to discover aspects of CBD and marijuana which aren’t currently there. He tells us, “What we do know in combination with microgravity holds very great potential.”

THE FUTURE OF HEMP IN SPACE

If these experiments go as planned, Space Tango hopes to offer CBD products to both consumers and the medical industry. The first experiments with hemp in space are scheduled to begin in either January or February of 2019. Due to regulations and policies with both the state and NASA, there are some legal actions Space Tango still needs to take before allowing hemp to enter this new frontier. However, Kimel informs us that Space Tango is committed to making sure they go about the experiments the right way.

So, how do these experiments work?

“Obviously, things are more difficult and complicated in space,” Kimel tells us. “Once the technology is designed, we install it into our labs and, from there, it takes about four to six weeks and then they’re brought back to the lab for analysis.”

Through these analyses, Space Tango believes they can find treatment for certain diseases which you couldn’t find here on earth. Kimel claims, “you get a better resolution with certain kinds of drugs in space.”

“Our ultimate goal is to have a transformational benefit of life on earth,” he concluded.

No Comments on Hemp In Space: Researchers Send Hemp Plants To International Space Station

Green Mountain State: ‘Lenient’ Vermont Hemp Laws Could Fuel New Hemp Boom

Vermont hemp laws make it simple to grow hemp, and business is booming. As one grower told us, “Vermont is a very lenient state to grow hemp in. It’s hemp program is great.”

Vermont’s hemp laws make it simple to grow hemp, and business is booming.

Last month, we visited Luce Farm where we learned about growing hemp in Vermont. Luce Farm’s owner, Joe Pimentel, told us, “Vermont is a very lenient state to grow hemp in. It’s hemp program is great.”

This lead us to want to learn more about Vermont’s hemp program and what makes it so easy for new farmers to join. We did some research and we’ve collected all the information you’ll need to know why Vermont is a great place to grow hemp.

VERMONT HEMP LAWS AMONG THE NATION’S MOST PROGRESSIVE

Since hemp is so closely tied with marijuana, there are some states which just aren’t ready to start harvesting. Take Texas for example. Generally known for its highly conservative politics, it has yet to sign in on the 2014 Farm Bill which made it legal for states to decide if they want to grow hemp or not. The simple reason is the people and politicians of the area are resistant to the idea that hemp can be beneficial for agriculture and the economy.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont’s hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

Luckily, the proposed 2018 Farm Bill could legalize the crop on a federal level which would, inevitably, change the entire nation’s opinion on hemp. States like Vermont, and popular hemp growers like Colorado and Kentucky, have played a big role in this change in attitudes.

Doug Fine, a New Mexico hemp expert, told local reporters from myChamplainValley.com, “The Vermont law simply states, farmers and entrepreneurs in Vermont have access any hemp genetic that meet the federal definition of hemp.”

Vermont only charges $25.00 in annual registration fees to each grower. Fine called this kind of perspective on hemp forward thinking.

Furthermore, registration is very open to new farmers. Authorized by the Vermont Legislature in 2013, there are no limitations in terms of:

  • Amount of acreage
  • Residency requirements
  • How many registrations are available to the public

With this kind of policy, it’s no surprise that hemp’s popularity is expanding rapidly in Vermont. While about 575 acres of hemp were harvested in 2017, agriculture officials expect about 2,000 acres of hemp are being grown in Vermont this year.

In a report for Marijuana Business Daily, Kristen Nichols wrote, “Vermont has the nation’s loosest regulations and latitude that makes it an easy fit for hemp cultivators.”

She continued,  “Vermont hemp growers do not have to participate in a pilot project or a research collaboration with a University or state agriculture authorities — conditions laid out in the 2014 Farm Bill authorizing limited hemp production.”

On July 1st 2018, recreational cannabis became legal in the state of Vermont and, with that, came a new pilot program making it legal to buy and sell hemp under registration of the Agency of Agriculture. This means, as long as they follow state laws, growers and distributors won’t have to worry much about Federal Agencies cracking down.

WHAT AMERICA CAN LEARN FROM VERMONT HEMP LAWS

The most obvious — profit. Politicians and farmers alike see that hemp can be extremely lucrative for Vermont. Competition is already sprawling: neighboring New York state has invested more money into its hemp production. Even so, there’s still more money being made per pound in Vermont than other progressive states.

A massive, tall hemp field with the Vermont mountains behind it. Luce Farm, pictured here, is helping to create a growing hemp boom in the Green Mountain State thanks to Vermont's hemp laws.

Luce Farm, pictured here, is helping to create a growing hemp boom in the Green Mountain State thanks to Vermont’s hemp laws. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

To give you an idea, the Marijuana Business Daily reports:

  • In Vermont, growers make about $100 or more per pound of dried flower/bud, around $1 per pound of seed, and 10 cents per pound of stalk.
  • In Colorado, where competition is stronger, growers make about $28 per pound of dried flower/bud, but up to $9 per pound of seed.
  • The best place to grow (financially speaking) is currently Nevada. Growers there make up to $200 per pound of flower, $10 per pound of seed, and 10 cents a stalk.

The above numbers only account for those who grow hemp and immediately sell the plant as is. Many farmers produce hemp products directly from their crops, which is oftenmuch more profitable.

VERMONT LOOKS LIKE THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN HEMP

People who grow their own hemp and create their own products see much more profit off their cultivation. Furthermore, in terms of Vermont, the new pilot program is guaranteed to be more lenient in this regard. Growers can create hemp products without much strict federal regulation.

To any hemp farmer looking to make the most out of the hemp industry, Vermont looks to be the place. Vermont’s tolerant laws and support of growers creating their own merchandise will attract more hemp enthusiasts.

For those interested, here’s a link to Vermont’s Hemp Registration form.

No Comments on Green Mountain State: ‘Lenient’ Vermont Hemp Laws Could Fuel New Hemp Boom

George Washington’s Hemp Farm: Industrial Hemp Returns to Mount Vernon

Hemp is growing once again at Mount Vernon, thanks to a partnership with the University of Virginia. Industrial hemp was once a vital part of American agriculture.

George Washington’s hemp farm is back, thanks to growers who want to spread the word about this crop and its history.

If we were to go back in time to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate around 250 years ago, we’d see row upon row of industrial hemp flourishing under the Virginia sun. Washington believed hemp could bring in more profit than tobacco due to its wider variety of uses.

As time progressed and cannabis growing was banned in the U.S., hemp disappeared from Mount Vernon along with the rest of the country. Now, with full hemp legalization on the horizon, George Washington’s hemp farm is back. Hemp is once again being harvested at Mount Vernon.

A hemp field grows in tall, dense bamboo-like clusters. George Washington's hemp farm wasn't unusual: hemp remained a vital American crop until it was banned in the early 20th-century.

George Washington’s hemp farm wasn’t unusual: hemp remained a vital American crop until it was banned in the early 20th-century.

Dean Norton, lead horticulturist at Mount Vernon, partnered with the University of Virginia to bring hemp back. Just like Washington, they see the potential profit in hemp and want to bring attention to the numerous ways it can be used.

“To bring this crop back it just really helps complete our agricultural story,” Norton told NPR.

To understand why George Washington’s hemp is so important, let’s look back at how hemp previously influenced Mount Vernon and the United States.

HEMP HISTORY: GEORGE WASHINGTON’S HEMP EXPERIMENTS BEGAN IN 1760

In the 1760s, Washington explored the profitability of hemp. George Washington’s hemp was used for rope, sail canvas, clothing, and repairing fishing nets (a key necessity for his fishing operations along the Potomac). He had a feeling it could bring in much more money than tobacco. Back then, there were no laws prohibiting growing.

Washington knew hemp could grow in places where other crops withered. With this knowledge, he wrote a letter to William Pierce stating, “ … on my farming plantation(s), I want you to make the most of hemp and plant it everywhere on my farmlands that haven’t been previously reserved for other things.” With that, George Washington’s hemp farm flourished.

During this time, the British Crown also commissioned American farmers to grow hemp. Hemp is highly adaptable and can grow in places that are otherwise left barren. When Washington grew hemp, it would not be surprising if you took a wagon ride down a dirt road only to discover fields of it.

Humans have used hemp as medicine for centuries, but there’s little to no evidence Washington or his contemporaries ever smoked their crop. While both hemp and psychoactive cannabis (‘marijuana’) are forms of the same plant, they’re grown and used in very different ways.

The unfortunate truth is hemp wasn’t as profitable as wheat. The country knew this and so did Washington. Though Washington continued to grow hemp, it wasn’t the sole focus of Mount Vernon.

Hemp remained an important crop until the U.S. banned cannabis in the early 20th-century. American hemp became important again during World War II. Otherwise, hemp remained illegal until the 2014 Farm Bill brought it back to America on a limited basis.

HEMP FLASHBACK: GEORGE WASHINGTON’S HEMP IS A SIGN OF A BRIGHT FUTURE

Hemp’s image is so twisted by unnecessary stigma, visitors are startled to see it on Mount Vernon. Tourists now take selfies with George Washington’s hemp. Some gaze in awe at the sight of the plant, with its distinctive leaves.

George Washington's hemp farm is growing again thanks to horticulturists at his Mount Vernon estate and the University of Virginia.

George Washington’s hemp farm is growing again thanks to horticulturists at his Mount Vernon estate and the University of Virginia.

There’s no doubt Washington would’ve found this a bit ridiculous. But the team involved in growing hemp on Mount Vernon want to end the fear attached to the crop.

Brian Walden, a Virginia hemp advocate, helped petition to bring hemp back to Mount Vernon. He told NPR’s Brakkton Booker that he considers himself a “hemp patriot.”

Walden hopes that bringing hemp back to George Washington’s farm will send “the message across that this is an innocuous plant that has real benefits and our Founding Fathers knew that and they planted it.”

Decades of prohibition have brought ignorance, and required us to fight for legalization,but there’s one benefit to this moment. Hemp has yet to become a commodity crop dominated by corporate agriculture. It’s still accessible to smaller farmers and experimental growers like the Mount Vernon team.

George Washington’s hemp is educating new people about this crop, and aiding the push for total legalization, which could soon become a reality at the federal level.

If one of our country’s most historic properties is benefitting from hemp, why shouldn’t the rest of America?

1 Comment on George Washington’s Hemp Farm: Industrial Hemp Returns to Mount Vernon

Luce Farm: How Hemp Saved A Piece Of Vermont Farming History

Recently, we were lucky enough to a historic Vermont hemp farm that’s a wonderful example of hemp’s power to heal American agriculture. Originally founded in 1820, Luce Farm now grows hemp and uses it to make their own CBD products.

Recently, we were lucky enough to a historic Vermont hemp farm that’s a wonderful example of hemp’s power to heal American agriculture.

With low humidity and an abundance of air flow, it comes as no surprise that hemp’s found a way to prosper in the Green Mountain State’s countryside. Joe Pimentel, with his family and team, operate the historic Luce Farm and have found more success than they imagined in the ever-changing, fast-growing hemp industry.

The hemp grows tall on 206 acre Luce Farm, with the Vermont mountains in the background.

The hemp grows tall on 206 acre Luce Farm, with the Vermont mountains in the background. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

First established in 1820, during our visit we learned how this 206 acre farm transformed from vegetable growing to hemp.

FROM VEGGIES TO A VERMONT HEMP FARM

Years ago, Pimentel began growing vegetables and raising goats due to the lack of easy access to good food. After the farming grew substantially, he moved to Vermont to grow food full time at Luce Farm and truck it down to areas in and around Boston.

“We were always able to sustain, but it was hard,” Pimentel told us. “Veggie farming is hard.”

Pimentel had dreams of restoring this 200 year old farm, but it was impossible to do on just vegetables. So, he began looking into a variety of options. Eventually, he stumbled upon hemp and it stuck. Pimentel recalled:

In 2016, we were hired to grow hemp for an R&D [Research and Development] project. We ended up with eighty pounds of it by the end of the year and we didn’t know what to do with it. That’s when we started playing around with the CBD in our kitchen.

After trying some simple recipes and sharing them with friends, people came back to Pimentel claiming the results were “unbelievable.” Many were new to CBD and what it could offer. Some friends who were taking several Ibuprofen a day reported more relief from the healing properties of hemp.

Part of the Luce Farm team stands in their hemp field (left to right): Jesse, Joe Pimentel, and Robin Chadwell.

Part of the Luce Farm team stands in their hemp field (left to right): Jesse, Joe Pimentel, and Robin Chadwell. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

This is what motivated him to continue with harvesting and making Luce Farm CBD products. Pimentel knew if he wanted to make a business out of this, he had to be confident in telling people the exact amount of CBD they’d receive. As a result, he transitioned to using supercritical CO2 extraction, an industry standard method for producing high-quality CBD.

With a professionally produced, labeled and tested product under his belt, he decided to take his CBD to the place he knew best: farmers’ markets.

HEMP SAVED HISTORIC LUCE FARM

Unsurprisingly, he found himself easily making much more profit than he did off vegetables.

“And then we just ran with the ball, man,” Pimentel proclaimed. “It was evident this was exactly what we needed for our project.”

That project, to preserve this important site, is about to take a major step forward. Luce Farm will soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places, with all the protection that brings. Thanks to Pimentel and the possibilities of hemp, a piece of Vermont history will remain in the serenity of this mountainous landscape.

Luce Farm is a piece of the community that was almost taken away. After operating within the Luce family from 1820 to 1950, the last member passed away just when corporate agriculture was taking control of American farming. A pair of caretakers kept the property preserved, then sold it to the Pimentels a few years ago.

Since Vermont legalized hemp through the 2014 Farm Bill, it’s been making more and more appearances throughout the state. When Pimentel first began growing in 2016, there were less than 50 hemp permits within the state. This year, that number has reached an astonishing 249 hemp permits.

Hemp grows in dense clusters in a field. In the distance are greenhouses, a forest and the mountains. Luce Farm is not just a beautiful Vermont hemp farm, but also an example of hemp's power to revive American agriculture.

Luce Farm is not just a beautiful Vermont hemp farm, but also an example of hemp’s power to revive American agriculture. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

In Pimentel’s words, “That’s a ridiculous amount of growth.”

Different states have different regulations when it comes to growing hemp. Vermont hemp farmers face few barriers under their state’s relatively simple regulations.

“As far as the state of Vermont goes, its hemp program is awesome,” Pimentel told us.

Still, Luce Farm has faced legal complications. About 6 months back, Pimentel teamed up with Long Trail Brewery in Vermont to create a CBD-infused beer. It was a winner in terms of sales, moving thousands of cans within a two day period. However, the federal government stepped in and told them they couldn’t mix cannabinoids with alcohol.

The Luce Farm team remains proud of the work they did and hope they can work with Long Trail again in the future when hemp is fully legalized.

BEYOND LUCE FARM: HEMP CAN HELP LOCAL FARMERS NATIONWIDE

Pimentel believes hemp can be a winner for local farmers across the country. Just as when big corporations moved into farming as a whole, he’s noticed big corporations trying to make their way into the hemp industry and take profits away from small family farmers. The more hemp becomes available to the public, the more people are trying to purchase it for cheap.

Moving forward, he hopes small farmers can continue to take advantage of the economic opportunities hemp provides:

I know how hard it is to grow that stuff … We’re farmers first. We want to keep that price high. We don’t want Wall Street coming in and driving the market.

When it comes to getting into the hemp industry, Pimentel advises people to have a plan. Farmers must know in advance what to do with their hemp once it’s harvested.

A massive, tall hemp field with the Vermont mountains behind it. Luce Farm creates their own CBD products from their harvest, controlling their output from seed to shelf.

Luce Farm creates their own CBD products from their harvest, controlling their output from seed to shelf. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

More personally, Pimentel believes farmers should keep control of their harvest and “fight to keep [hemp] an agriculture product rather than a commodity product.”

This Vermont hemp farm directly uses the crops they grow in their own CBD products, rather than selling the crop to other businesses. They control their output from seed to shelf, and earnings can go right back into preserving Luce Farm.

Like so many other people working in this industry, Pimentel is excited about hemp and its potential to revive American farming.

“I’m a firm believer that every 7-Eleven in America should be replaced by a farm,” he declared. “It’d change a lot of things.”

No Comments on Luce Farm: How Hemp Saved A Piece Of Vermont Farming History

US Hemp Sales Reach Record-Breaking $820M In 2017

U.S. hemp sales reached record breaking levels last year, thanks to the continued spread of legalization and the growing popularity of CBD oil. Hemp Business Journal reported sales of hemp products hit $820 million.

U.S. hemp sales reached record breaking levels last year, thanks to the continued spread of legalization and the growing popularity of CBD oil.

Hemp Business Journal recently released their 2017 hemp industry analysis, reporting sales of hemp products hit $820 million. Despite ongoing legal and regulatory complications, the industry grew a total of 16 percent last year.

And that number is expected to continue rising. With more and more states seeing the value in hemp, legalization is spreading like wildfire.

CBD PRODUCTS LEADING THE WAY IN US HEMP SALES IN 2017

US hemp sales reached $820 million in 2017, with CBD oil and personal care products generating the most sales. (Source: Hemp Business Journal)

US hemp sales reached $820 million in 2017, with CBD oil and personal care products generating the most sales. (Source: Hemp Business Journal)

Hemp Business Journal laid out a market breakdown of where hemp products did their best. Turns out, CBD and personal care products dominated the business.

Responsible for 23 percent of U.S. hemp sales, CBD products banked in at $190 million last year. Personal care items come in at 22 percent, generating around $181 million.

Here are other major uses for hemp and the total value of those sales:

  • Industrial applications – $144 million
  • Food – $137 million
  • Consumer textiles – $105 million
  • Supplements – $45 million
  • Other consumer products – $16 million

As mentioned, U.S. hemp sales are expected to rise as laws and regulations around hemp continue to ease.

With Congress increasingly supportive of total federal legalization of industrial hemp, hemp experts are predicting sales can more nearly triple within the next 5 years.

US HEMP SALES COULD APPROACH $2 BILLION BY 2022

Though it’s only an estimate, Hemp Business Journal expects U.S. hemp sales to reach $1 billion in 2019, and climb as high as $1.9 billion by 2022.

This is due to two important factors: Hemp is easier to grow than other resources, such as cotton or corn. With it’s over 25,000 known uses, businesses see large potential in hemp as a resource.

Still, we have a long way to go until these estimations become a reality. In 2017, over half of the hemp industry was based in Colorado alone. The biggest barrier: not every state is on board with hemp legalization.

Since hemp is still only partially legal, the amount of production allowed varies from state to state. Therefore, we aren’t seeing as big of a hemp boom as we could because farmers and vendors still face regulatory hurdles from growing their crops to bringing products to market.

An overhead shot of a growing hemp field. US hemp sales reached record heights in 2017.

As of this time, experts expect the hemp industry to grow in much of the southern states (namely, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee) as well as a great area of the Midwest (particularly, Minnesota and North Dakota).

However, with more laws being put into place, such as the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp holds the potential to grow even beyond the estimates mentioned here.

LEGAL COMPLICATIONS LIMIT POTENTIAL US HEMP SALES

Congress could be key to this industry’s success, thanks to a bill proposed on April 12th, 2018. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and supported by Senator Ron Wyden as well as Senator Jeff Merkley.

Senators later added the act as an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill. If Congress passes the Farm Bill as expected, the Department of Agriculture will regulate hemp on the federal level. This would not only make hemp more widely available to farmers but to consumers as well. Almost inevitably, full legalization would increase sales.

Still, complications will continue to persist under current plans for nationwide legalization. The current language of the amendment bans anyone with a prior drug felony from growing hemp. The U.S. does not regulate any other crops in this manner.

This law could put existing farmers such as Veronica Carpio at risk. Carpio is an early contributor to the hemp industry and the president of Grow Hemp Colorado, but she also holds a past felony cannabis conviction. With this new bill, there’s potential she’ll be kicked out of the industry, in spite of all she’s already done. Future hemp entrepreneurs could also be locked out by their criminal record. However, some hemp industry experts hope the law could be reformed after passage.

We can only guess at how high hemp sales could get. Though hemp farming is growing, companies simply don’t have enough of the resource to offer a full range of commercial products. Imagine if hemp was as widely available as cotton. Who knows how many hemp products we’d see on the market?

1 Comment on US Hemp Sales Reach Record-Breaking $820M In 2017

Why Grow Hemp: The Many Uses Of Hemp On Smaller Farms

More and more people are asking themselves, “should I grow hemp?” The secret truth to hemp’s growing popularity is it’s one of the easiest, most versatile and most sustainable crops you can grow.

More and more people are asking themselves, “should I grow hemp?”

Across America, we’re witnessing an ever-growing market for industrial hemp. Only two years ago, there were less than 10,000 acres growing across the country. Today, this new cash crop has reached an astounding 27,000 acres. And that number continues to rise.

This comes as no surprise considering hemp’s wide variety of uses. Even beyond the industry, many small farmers are finding ways in which hemp benefits their lives.

The simple answer, you get more out of it than you put in and the crop can grow in some inhospitable conditions. However, as you’ll find out from reading, the real reasons go deeper than that.

WHY GROW HEMP? HEMP IS SUSTAINABLE AND HAS MANY, MANY USES

The secret truth to hemp’s growing popularity is it’s one of the easiest and most sustainable crops you can grow. Unlike major cash crops such as corn or wheat, hemp grows in dense clusters that require very little pesticide or herbicides and a minimal amount of fertilizer. It  requires less water than some cash crops like cotton, though it isn’t considered a low water crop.

A hemp farmer surveys his crop at sunrise. Why grow hemp? Farmers grow hemp because it requires little maintenance and offers many uses.

A hemp farmer surveys his crop at sunrise. Why grow hemp? Farmers grow hemp because it requires little maintenance and offers many uses.

You can grow hemp almost anywhere in the country, excluding very dry deserts and high mountaintops. Preferably, hemp prospers in well-drained soil that has a high quality of organic matter. This guide from HempTechGlobal offers more detail on the logistics of growing and harvesting hemp. One potential complication is decortication, in which the parts of the hemp plant are separated. Decortication can require access to specialized equipment.

Research has discovered growing hemp holds potential to heal polluted soil. With the possibility to replace fossil fuels and be a new source of paper, hemp is considered one of the most eco-friendly crops around.

In fact, there are over 25,000 known uses for hemp. Whether you’re looking for something as complex as a form of concrete (hempcrete) or something as simple as some pet bedding, hemp has you covered.

People’s health also benefits from access to hemp. Hemp is a superfood that provides a great source of nutrients and fibers. But even better, it’s the key ingredient in CBD oil, an amazingly beneficial nutritional supplement.

When it comes to why people grow hemp, whether it be for personal or industrial use, there are a wide variety of reasons to consider. Many farmers report it’s an incredibly rewarding crop to grow.

IS IT LEGAL TO GROW HEMP?

One of the biggest questions people have when deciding to grow hemp is about legality. In most people’s minds, it’s still very much attached to its still federally illegal cousin, psychoactive cannabis (‘marijuana‘), making many farmers all the more cautious.

In 2013, Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin revolutionized the country by being the first to harvest hemp in America since 1957. Since then, the 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to pursue hemp farming for the sake of research practices. Since then, 38 states have legalized hemp cultivation.

Because each state operates differently under the bill, it’ll be necessary you do some research before planting any hemp crops.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW HEMP

There are some legal factors you’ll need to keep in mind before starting your hemp garden.

The first and most important is you’ll be required to have a license. One which requires a fee and lots of paperwork. In some cases, you may face a criminal background check.

Furthermore, after harvest, your plants must be tested for their THC levels. If they test higher than .3 percent, your crop will most likely be destroyed.

Industrial hemp grows in long, tightly packed rows on a farm. While there are large-scale uses for hemp, many smaller farms also grow hemp.

Some hemp farmers, such as Kim Phillips from Montana, run into unexpected difficulties. Her water source is federally regulated by the Bureau of Reclamation, so she had to request access to their assets for hemp irrigation. Since they didn’t approve her request in time, her plants withered the first time she tried to grow hemp.

Because hemp plants are required to have such a low amount of THC, many farmers find the most difficult task is finding the proper seed. Since hemp legality is so recent, the seed industry can’t always keep up with the ever-growing demand for seeds.

There have also been reported difficulties shipping seeds through states where hemp production is still illegal.

DESPITE COMPLICATIONS, SMALL FARMERS STILL GROW HEMP

Even with everything that’s been mentioned, the demand for this eco-friendly crop is enormous. Many farmers are jumping on the hemp bandwagon.

If considering an industrial hemp operation, you might want to take precautions to inform the community. Many hemp farmers post signs explaining that their crop is not marijuana. Tom Hewson, a Colorado hemp farmer, gathered his neighborhood together for a community meeting to inform them about the crop he had planned, and why he chose hemp. In his words, “educational efforts are critical.”

You may still wonder if it’s beneficial for you to grow it for personal reasons. The truth of the matter is, the legal standpoint on hemp may turn some growers off. But, if you can look past those obligations, hemp can be of great use to you.

As already mentioned, there’s such a wide variety of ways in which hemp can be used for your personal benefit. Even more so, though, by deciding to grow hemp, you can be a part of creating a more sustainable way of life.

No Comments on Why Grow Hemp: The Many Uses Of Hemp On Smaller Farms

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search