Eric Steenstra, the Executive Director of Vote Hemp has been conducting an annual survey of state departments of agriculture since 2016 to track the growth of hemp cultivation in the United States.
This year they will provide hemp planting and harvesting data once it has been reported. The results on licensing show more than 500,000 acres of hemp were licensed across 34 states, an increase of more than 455% over 2018 licensed acreage. We know from previous years that significantly less hemp is planted than what is licensed due to a variety of factors including access to seed and/or clones as well as inexperience. It is expected that this will be the case again for 2019 and an estimate that 230,000 acres of hemp will actually be planted and significantly less harvested due crop failure.
Another important statistic is the growth in the number of farms that were licensed to grow hemp in 2019. Almost 17,000 licenses were issued for hemp cultivation in 2019, an increase of 477% over 2018 licensure. A significant amount of this activity is coming from new farmers which is good news for agriculture. In Tennessee alone, licensees increased by more than 1,000% and many of them are small family farms. Hemp is helping farmers to find new and more profitable markets and is encouraging new people to consider farming as a way of life.