Farmers around the country were delighted when hemp was approved in the 2018 Farm Bill. At last, after 80 years of restriction, hemp, one of the world’s most useful plants, could be produced. However, a “gold rush” planting mindset in the 2019 season, combined with an undeveloped market, left many anxious and inexperienced new hemp producers with only debt and an unsellable hemp crop. Producers considering cultivating hemp for the first time should know the following.
The states where cultivating hemp is legal
With the passage of the 2018 Farming Bill, the United States entered a new era of hemp farming possibilities. However, farmers’ ability to capitalize on that potential relies on state-level policy. The number of states allowed to grow hemp in 2019 greatly outnumbers the number of states that have not passed laws allowing residents to participate in the burgeoning cash crop.
Only three states now prohibit hemp farming: Idaho, South Dakota, and Mississippi. The rest of the United States permits hemp cultivation through commercial, research, or pilot operations.
It is also important to note that the contrast between being allowed to cultivate hemp for study or as part of a pilot program and producing it commercially is considerable. Most states are now scrambling to catch up with extensions to their industrial hemp research pilot programs. Such pilot initiatives provide a great pathway for many farmers who wish to grow hemp gradually.
Where to buy hemp seeds for farming?
If you want to grow hemp on your farm, you may be wondering where to begin. The solution is straightforward. Begin with the proper hemp seeds. Every farmer understands that quality seeds are the foundation of a good crop. Choose hemp seeds for sale that have been genetically modified to produce low quantities of THC. Each producer must take their produce to a Colorado Certified Hemp Testing Laboratory to guarantee that THC levels are within the acceptable limit.
How to grow hemp?
Start seedlings indoors four weeks before your zone’s latest frost date. Plant seedlings after the risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to above 50°F. Hemp grows best in soil with a pH of 7.0-7.5. In the fall, test your soil for pH, and if it is too low, add lime to the area. Hemp thrives in loam with enough compost. It also prefers loose soil and has fibrous roots. The soil should be well-drained.
Sandy soil is not ideal because it does not hold as much water and nutrients, resulting in a lesser quality product. Hemp should ideally be grown on a fertile soil rich in organic matter, with a ratio of 3-4. Hemp plants prefer a warm, damp climate in which to develop.
Plants require full sun to thrive. Hemp is a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 16 feet in some kinds. In the appropriate growing conditions, it can grow three inches every day. The purpose of the hemp determines the spacing. Plants should be spaced 12 inches apart when growing for fiber. Planting for seed production should be done near together to stimulate branching. A spacing of about 7 inches is excellent.
Hemp seed harvesting
Harvesting the seed is one reason for growing hemp. Hemp seeds are used to manufacture hemp oil and are a healthy snack. If you want to produce seeds, you should grow a variety of female plants. Hemp is a perennial plant with a brief growing season.
Hemp will bloom when the length of daylight is less than 12 hours. Around six weeks after the plant flowers, the seeds mature. It is critical to harvest the seeds during the correct window. The plant disperses its seeds by shattering them, which causes ripened seeds to fall to the ground. Harvesting when the seeds are ready but before the mother plant disperses them is critical for the grower.
Market prospect for hemp products
By 2022, the CBD market in the United States is estimated to be worth $20 billion. Although heavily regulated, industrial hemp is officially legal due to the USDA’s new interim hemp guidelines. The potential for progress is limitless, but there are hurdles to overcome and best practices for successfully selling your products.
Hemp farmers should be abreast with the best farming practices since they are at the bottom of the value chain. Their output significantly influences the success of the product in the successive stages.