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2020 Hemp Acreage Shows Caution Might be the Name of the Game

Even the most enthusiastic hemp farmers have reason to be cautious with their crops.

Because here’s the thing . . .

During the great boom, the promise of hemp’s worth prompted farmers to register 530,000 acres of land for cultivation.

For many in the agricultural space, the passing of the Farm Bill felt a little bit like winning the lottery.

“I was blindsided by the promise,” one hemp farmer recently shared with us.

“Everyone was talking about how much value this crop has, and I was willing to bet my farm on it. But what I couldn’t prepare for were all the forces working against us. Spiking THC levels, securing a buyer, dealing with Mother Nature’s whims . . . All those things come together and make a mess of your crop if you’re not 100 percent ready to weather the storm.”

Unfortunately, this kind of dismal depiction was the reality for too many farmers who wagered their livelihood on hemp’s potential.

Hot hemp. Worthless fields. Tons of unsold crops sitting in storage . . .

It’s easy to see why those who got burned in 2019 are willfully retreating out of the space.

But is it all doom and gloom for the hemp industry?

Not at all.

In fact, what we’re seeing in supply contractions is par-for-the-course with any new industry that’s still finding its sea legs.

And of course, it’s possible that a smaller supply will create larger demand . . .

And more profit for the farmer.

In late July, Hemp Benchmarks counted nearly 400,000 acres of land for hemp production, along with about 1,450 acres of indoor space and Greenhouses.

Contrast those numbers with 2019 and you’ll find a 30% decrease year-over-year. And we’re seeing 64% less indoor and greenhouse space allotted for hemp farming as well.

Now, farmers are playing a more conservative game.

In 2019, Hemp Benchmarks counted 19,500 licenses for eager farmers ready to work with the most valuable cash crop in the agricultural industry.

Today, that number is hovering at 18,000.

The ones who are staying in the game?

They’re not rushing in with quite as much unbridled enthusiasm.

Instead, farmers are taking a cautious approach to their hemp farms this year, opting for smaller plots of land or greenhouse spaces where they’ve got more control over the cultivation.

And according to Hemp Benchmarks, a good amount of the people trying their hand at hemp cultivation this year are farmers completely new to the space.

Hemp for CBD Still Reigns Supreme

When it comes to the end-product, CBD is still the most coveted reason to farm hemp.

Now, the lesser-known cannabinoid CBG is also gaining steam for growers interested in selling for the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical uses of hemp.

However, we’re not seeing quite as much hemp grown for CBD as we did during the boom last year. Instead of 90% of the crop production going to cannabidiol, 75% of hemp farmers are growing for this purpose.

If you’re just getting into hemp or you’re heading into your second season, there’s a golden opportunity to learn from the mistakes of 2019 . . .

And to make hemp farming a profitable business.