An anonymous hemp consultant answers “5 questions” on the hard lessons learned from hemp farming.
1- What are some of the bad things that happened to hemp farmers over the last couple years?
“The effects of hemp legalization in 2019 were wild beyond belief. Until 2019 the high CBD hemp supply in the U.S. was limited and commanded a price premium. In 2019 the Federal government legalized hemp production. Everyone thought that this was a huge win for the CBD industry. With many American farmers reeling from a trade war with China they looked for a golden goose in high CBD hemp.
With the limited supply of hemp, a short period of time to develop the genetics needed for field production, a loosely organized supply change, and a lack of clear regulations. America jumped into major hemp production, hemp production increased 400% . Some estimates said that 94% of hemp farmers lost money in 2019.”
2- Can you talk about the the bad contracts farmer’s signed?
“Many farmers had signed contracts with major brokers, manufacturers, and extractors of CBD. They failed to completely understand these wordy contracts that had backdoors, ways to negate the contracts without getting a payout from the buyers. While I’m writing this blog, there are many farmers just now selling their hemp for a quarter of the price that they had painstakingly negotiated. There are many other farmers who have been storing their hemp for the whole year and will never see the fruits of their labor get bought. It’s unfortunate that there is no safety net , no crop insurance that will cover their losses. Most farming in the U.S. is supplemented and has the added benefit of crop insurance.”
3- What are other ways farmer’s lost their hemp crops? Or got scammed?
“Many hemp farmers had to plow under their fields due to their hemp testing hot, too high in thc, others had too many seeds in their hemp to sell into the lucrative smokable hemp market. There was a lack of true feminized seeds, and con men sold non feminized seeds as feminized seed, and many farmers took the brunt of these production mishaps. A feminized seed can cost from $.50 -$1.50 a piece, where non feminized seeds cost $.01-$.05 each and there is no easy way to tell the difference between the two types of seed.”
4- What are some of the growing methods farmers used that didn’t work out?
“With any crop there are techniques to maximize production and minimize labor costs. Lots of farmers grew hemp like you would grow boutique tomatoes, only to realize that weeding and insect damage are detrimental in this type of production scheme. Some farmers decided to seed drill hemp like you would corn. Seed drilling feminized seed would cost a fortune and if it is done with non feminized seeds you have to worry about pollen spread that can affect many farmers in your regional community.”
5- What are your thoughts on hemp farming in 2020?
“2020 is a new year in hemp production. Many of the issues that plagued the industry in 2019 have been improving. As all farmers know there will always be more issues that arise. One of the benefits to consumers of CBD is that prices have fallen. The market is finding a sweet spot where producers can make a living and the average person can afford to include CBD products into their usual health and wellness regiment.”
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