By Steven Hoffman – Let’s Talk Hemp
While farmers across America faced a number of challenges growing hemp this past season, when all is said and done, it is estimated that the total number of acres of hemp harvested in 2019 increased approximately 50% over the 2018 harvest.
Vote Hemp, a Washington D.C .-based advocacy group, reported in its 2019 U.S. Hemp Grower License Report that nearly 511,442 acres of hemp were licensed in 34 states this year – a four-fold increase over acres licensed in 2018. Of that total licensed acreage approved for the 2019 growing season, Vote Hemp estimates that about half, or 230,000 acres, of hemp was actually planted. This year’s U.S. hemp harvest is expected to come in at 115,000 – 138,000 acres, in part due to losses from crop failure, adverse weather, non-compliant crops, and other factors, says Vote Hemp. Compared to 78,126 acres of hemp harvested in 2018, this represents about a 50% increase in acres of hemp harvested in 2019.
While that brings much cause for celebration for the first “legal” hemp harvest in the U.S. since historic passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it also brings pause and perhaps concern for many farmers caught between bad weather, a potential glut of hemp crop that could drive prices down, and for many, difficulty in finding buyers to bring their hemp to market. As growers across 34 states harvest this year’s crop, many newcomers have no idea who will buy their crop or even who will prepare it for sale, Barry Paterno, a Tennessee hemp farmer, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
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