In July, Hemp Benchmarks was able to acquire updated licensed acreage figures from nearly every state with a functional hemp program, providing some insight into how this year’s crop will compare to 2019’s. We have documented almost 400,000 acres of land in the U.S. registered for hemp production as of late July, along with over 63 million square feet of indoor or greenhouse space (about 1,450 acres).
2020’s outdoor licensed acreage is off by over 30% from over 580,000 acres last year, while indoor and greenhouse square footage registered for hemp cultivation is down by roughly 64% year-over-year. These numbers bear out what we have reported earlier this year, that many farmers are taking a more conservative approach to cultivation, if not exiting the sector entirely.
The just over 18,000 cultivation licenses that we have counted nationwide to this point in 2020 represents about an 8% decline compared to the over 19,500 recorded in 2019. This indicates that most growers registered smaller outdoor plots or indoor / greenhouse sites. It should also be noted that many of those who farmed hemp in 2019 are not doing so in 2020, but most of those who exited appear to have been replaced by first-time growers, according to data and comments from state agriculture departments.