What You MUST Know About Hemp Theft Prevention

5 Must-Know Tips for Hemp Theft Prevention

No apple farmer ever had to worry about having a few of their trees chopped down in the middle of the night. Sadly, that’s not the case for many hemp growers.

In addition to pesky insects looking to gobble up your crops, you’ve also got to give some consideration to the two-legged criminal variety biting into your profits.

Hemp being a relatively high-value plant — and looking and smelling a lot like its psychoactive cousin — means that come flowering season felons are out on the prowl looking for opportunities.

It’s a shame, but your farm might just be that opportunity.

In many cases, clueless thieves have no idea they’re even stealing industrial hemp — costing hardworking hemp growers thousands of dollars in losses, including damage often caused to surrounding plants.

If robbers are aware it’s hemp they’re stealing, merely putting up “Industrial hemp grown here” signs to keep criminals out isn’t going to be enough.

You’ve got to get ahead of thieves and take steps to protect your hemp crop. Just a few key defensive tips will better protect your investment and help you sleep a whole lot better at night.

#1 Prevent Hemp Theft Through Discreet Placement

One of the first words of advice for anyone interested in growing hemp is to plot out a discreet location. It is always best that you plan out your field in an area not easily visible from public roads.

Remember… For many thieves, out of sight is out of mind.

So if at all possible, get those plants behind some cover like a barn or a row of corn.

If you are unable to give your plants cover — and many farmers are not in a position to provide that — not to worry. There are a few low-cost ways to begin to secure your hemp fields and avoid becoming easy prey for predators.

A few simple prevention measures can be enough to keep criminals at bay.

Because crooks tend to look for an easy in, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. An effective, proactive approach can be like the act of rolling up your windows in a city parking lot to keep idle hands from reaching in.

#2 Install Alarms and Motion-Detector Lights

Tripwire alarms and motion-detector lights are a couple of inexpensive basic devices you can purchase — or create yourself — to discourage thieving hands and give yourself some peace of mind.
Some farmers are getting crafty with their detection methods, setting up simple DIY deadfall-style tripwires in a few spots around their hemp crops. They work like a charm.

It’s as easy as duct taping a ball bearing or marble on the push button of a boat horn, then positioning a perched board to fall and blast the button once a line gets tripped.

For around 10 bucks, you’ve got a cheap but effective alarm that’ll scare the pants off anyone creeping around your hemp fields. Situate four to five of those handy gadgets across your property and you’ll run off a majority of would-be burglars.

Solar-powered motion-detector lights are another kind of low-cost device you can easily set up to startle criminals. A few bright lights positioned at key points to go off around your hemp fields will often ward off roaming robbers.

Again, most criminals are looking for an easy, fast grab. They don’t want confrontation. Make it just a little bit of work for them and many will venture off to easier targets.

#3 Invest in Surveillance Cameras

Installing surveillance or wild-game cameras are also advisable tools to keep an eye on prowlers. Along with a few big, bright “Smile, you’re on camera” signs posted around the perimeter of your property, the mere sight of cameras will signal to thieves that this just isn’t worth the headache.

You’re watching them.

Position security cameras high up and point a couple at any nearby roadways. Affordable high-definition cameras are now available that can clearly capture wide areas.

Keep in mind, while cameras are good for surveillance — and can definitely deter thieves — they should be combined with other security measures. Catching a thief on tape red-handed doesn’t mean you’ll be made whole if they’re caught. In many U.S. states, hemp that is recovered by law enforcement after a robbery is required to be destroyed.

But if you’ve got them on tape, at least you’ll have a chance at seeing them arrested — and you’ll send a loud message to other crooks in the area that they can’t get away with ripping off your hemp.

A friend in Pennsylvania new to growing hemp shared that over 42 years of farming he hadn’t been robbed of so much as one bale of hay — but in 2019 his property was hit three times by hemp thieves. The final time he had cameras set up. Local cops arrested the crooks the next day.

In many jurisdictions, hemp crop theft is no joke. It’s considered grand larceny — a felony offense — with the added charge of unlicensed possession of hemp. That could mean five years in prison plus a $20,000 fine.

Again, this is a high-worth crop, so criminals are willing to take risks in some areas.

#4 Consider Chain Link Fencing for High-Threat Regions

If you live in a high-threat region, relatively inexpensive chain link fencing is also a good idea. It’s a bit of an upfront outlay, but cheap in the sense that it will bring you peace of mind. Add some barbed wire tops to broadcast that thieves should just keep on walking.

Depending on the size of your hemp farm, during flowering season security guards may be worth their weight in gold. If you prevent a worst-case theft of a truckload of plants, it’ll be well worth the cost of paying for the protection.

Another important step: make sure to block off gates to entrances and exits in order to ensure an added layer of protection from intruders.

#5 A Man’s Best Friend is Hemp’s Best Friend

Dogs are also natural farm protectors. Besides providing company on lonely days, pooches are perfect alarm systems for hemp growers. They are some of the best security guards you could ever employ and never ask for much more than a pat on the head and the occasional T- bone steak.

You put a lot of money on the line to farm hemp. Protecting your investment isn’t difficult — it just takes some planning and being a little bit smarter than a crook.

The Hemp Supply Chain: Get Ahead of Major Bottlenecks

Master the Hemp Supply Chain

Bringing goods to market is almost never a simple process — especially when you’re talking about hemp.

Understanding a few of the quirks and bottlenecks involved in the hemp supply chain can save you a ton of grief in the long run.

Every product you see sold at your local supermarket relies on a supply line to get there. From a pack of hotdogs to a case of beer, there are many stages of production to get goods from maker to market.

Hemp is no different.

It’s grown for a specific end-use — food, clothing, pill, ointment — and runs through all the same supply lines that a bottle of Coke would.

Planting, drying, testing, transporting, and manufacturing are a few of the more obvious parts of the hemp supply chain… And each is not without their own issues. But those are by no means the most important ones — the ones that can really trip you up.

Your energy should be focused on the pain points.

Two of the more critical links in the chain — tasks you should give early attention to in your growing year — are setting up processing and securing a buyer. Both can create massive bottlenecks if not done in a timely manner.

Ideally, you’ll want to be planning out those two chores as early as January.

You’re not alone if you think that’s a little soon to get your planning off the ground. But remember, proper planning prevents poor performance. It’s a classic case we see time and again, particularly in the shifting hemp industry.

In 2019, a lot of hemp growers got down to the hard work of farming before they ever gave a thought to processing and selling their goods.

That left many farmers in the lurch, sitting on unsold product.

While the work of processing and then selling your hemp physically occur much later in the year — post-harvest — plans for these tasks should be the first thing set in motion.. If possible, well before a seed ever hits the earth.

You’ll take a lot of pressure off yourself by nailing down processing and selling way ahead of planting. Then you can get down to the nitty-gritty of farming.

Because the hemp industry is still working out significant infrastructure kinks, it’s all about making sure you’ve got your ducks in a row. In this young market, which changes drastically from quarter to quarter, the early bird definitely gets the worm.

Consider it like fueling up your machinery for the day. Leaving that task to the last minute in the afternoon would strand you in the middle of your field on fumes.

Get way in front of critical bottlenecks with early planning.

Even before securing a processor or buyer, there are some key things to ponder. Out the gates in January, you should already be gaming out what your end product or products will eventually be.

Knowing what you’re farming for at the get-go — distillate, isolate, or CBD flower — is going to give you a huge leg up on the competition.

Not only will it inform you about what type of hemp you’ll grow, but it will also start to point you in the direction of the most likely buyers. Cater your hemp to their needs and your chances of selling will increase.

It’s also a very wise idea to consider growing hemp for a few different purposes. It’s a bad plan to show up with a truck full of biomass and hope to offload it all in one go. Hemp is not like corn. You don’t drop it off at a silo and collect a check.

You have to get buyers interested in your particular flavors of hemp.

Consider selling your product like a restaurant menu. Offer options. The more products you have on offer, the greater chance you’ll have of selling more goods.
Think about it — you never open a menu at Cracker Barrel and see just one item on the list. There’s always a whole range of options for you to choose from.

Buyers want choices.

No restaurant would ever be successful having just one or two items on the menu. Same with hemp. Offer them a few alternatives.

Distillate with CBD, CBN, or CBG. Smokable flower with attractive terpene profiles. Distillate Delta-8.

Along with farming for a variety of products, also make sure you’ve got backup plans in place.

Deals fall through all the time. It’s always good to also have a Plan B, C, and D waiting in the wings. Again, the hemp industry is in flux, moving on a quarterly basis.

You can succeed. You just have to move with it.

In the event of a curveball thrown at you, you want to move fast and avoid getting hammered.

Connecting with hemp collectives are one way to move in the right direction and avoid bottlenecks. They’re a great route to get in touch with verified businesses. These are folks who’ve been vetted by other farmers in the hemp network and have proven solid track records.

Those contacts will have better follow-through than most.

That said, always protect yourself by getting everything in writing.

Past years have seen too many farmers getting stung by putting down good faith deposits on a handshake. There are still a lot of questionable, predatory brokers and processors out there who don’t have the best intentions. They’ll promise you the moon and then disappear.

As soon as you agree on a deal, get those agreements signed and sealed.

The contract is king.

As the competition increases, we’re seeing farmers get creative in other ways to not get bogged down in supply line bottlenecks. They’re getting innovative about how to lure in buyers.

Farmers are marketing themselves as the best hemp in the region. They’re drawing buyers in with branding.

Create a brand and create demand.

Attract them and show how your plants and products stand head and shoulders above the rest. Creating a reliable brand is a fantastic way to get buyers on board and invested in your farm. To forge lasting relationships.

You’re the farmer who produces incredible terpenes. Your hemp is always guaranteed pesticide-free — and you’ve got testing reports to back it up. Your CBD, CBN, and CBG flower percentages are some of the best in the state.

Make your hemp irresistible to potential buyers by providing photos of your farm. Beautiful lines of cannabis glowing in the summer sun.

Market it and they will come.

You don’t need to be tripped up by bottlenecks in the hemp supply chain.

It’s a new industry and it’s got some hurdles. But if you look far enough ahead, you can avoid the majority of obstacles that stand in your way. And get down to the business of farming hemp.

How Much Do We Really Know About Hemp Genetics?

How Much Do We Really Know About Hemp Genetics

All successful hemp farmers share one thing in common:

They start with quality hemp seeds.

Because here’s the thing…

Many farmers get side railed by environmental stressors threatening to destroy their crops.

And make no mistake about it: navigating the environment is a crucial part of growing resilient, sturdy, potent hemp.

However…

No farmer will end up satisfied with their yield if they’re relying on weak hemp seed.

Stable hemp genetics are the most critical piece of the puzzle.

The hot hemp that caused so many farmers to destroy their crops in 2019 is largely the result of unstable genetics.

And seeds affect more than just the cannabinoid content you’ll reap at harvest time.

They also affect germination rate, yield, quality, and the length of your season.

As essential as hemp genetics are…

How Do You Know If You Can Trust Your Hemp Seeds?

In any new industry, it can be challenging to know whether the product quality matches the advertising.

And that’s especially true when it comes to hemp seeds.

When you invest in genetics on a handshake agreement, you may end up getting misled by shady sellers.

And that’s partly because there’s a huge lack of specification provided on the batch seed labels.

If you’re used to farming for wheat corn or wheat, then you’ve likely always had reliable specifications to work with.

However, unlike traditional agriculture, the regulations around hemp don’t yet require the same label consistency.

Of course, some states have already wised up to the issue. Colorado, one of the major players in cannabis, has certified a number of hemp seed varieties.

And as the hemp industry evolves, more people are recognizing the importance of transparency in genetics.

According to the Interim Final Rule, the USDA hasn’t yet included a hemp seed certification program for two main reasons.

First, THC levels in hemp plants vary by state.

Second, the technology isn’t advanced enough to innovate a nationwide seed-certification program.

Because here’s the thing…

For most people, the scientific understanding of cannabis is still in its infancy.

And in order to create consistent hemp genetics farmers can trust, the industry must band together to unify their efforts.

Now, there are some key trailblazers who are leading this charge.

Like BigMike, the founder of Advanced Hemp . . .

Who was one of the first three people in the world to receive a government-issued license to grow cannabis for research purposes.

Together with a team of two dozen plant-specific Ph.D.s, BigMike was able to make enormous headway in decoding the plant’s genome.

And this avid interest in hemp genetics is propping up in key sectors across the country.

The bottom line:

We need to invest in the research and scientific methods that will provide hemp farmers with consistently reliable hemp seeds.

As we map out the plant’s genetics, we will be able to build a molecular seed breeding program that works across the board.

Now, as a hemp farmer, you must also understand…

The Real Factor Driving Hemp Innovation

There’s no doubt the hemp industry is uncharted territory for most farmers.

However, every new industry shares one crucial determining factor behind its rate of maturation:

Innovation stems from market demands.

Take, for example, the skyrocketing interest in therapeutic cannabinoids.

According to a Gallup survey, 1 in 7 Americans currently consumes CBD.

High-quality CBD hemp genetics are a crucial part of producing a quality end-product for these millions of consumers.

This is a classic example of a market demand creating an immediate need for innovation.

Or, take a look at the demand for smokable hemp flower.

This upward trend in the market has spurred breeders to focus on terpene production.

Before smokeable flower was a popular method of consumption, farmers were more than happy to leave their hemp tasting like hay. Now that the market has changed the demand, tasty terpenes are a focal point for many farmers.

Right now, the hemp industry is at the nascent stages of innovation.

Over the next few years, we will see major changes. And if we band together through rigorous scientific testing, hemp genetics will become one of the most critical turning points.

A Better Way to Get Reliable Hemp Genetics

Hemp expert Justin Pullin shares how he vets genetics for his farm:

“When picking your hemp genetics for the season, it is imperative to find a tried and true company. Make sure they’re reputable and have put their genetics through the proper testing protocols with paperwork to back it,” he says.

“Also, keep in mind the environment and conditions you’re going to be growing… make sure the genetics are suitable for that specific climate.”

One thing you’ll want to do when buying hemp genetics is to make sure you read the label.

Don Robison, OISC’s Seed Administrator, recommends checking to see if the germination is over 80 percent.

According to Robison, germination rates are highly unpredictable. And the last thing you want is to become a victim of a scheme that seems “too good to be true.”

Now, this is important.

If the germination rates are in fact more than 80 percent…

Ask for a report from the seed lab to verify the information.

Fact is, reliable seed breeders will be happy to substantiate their labels.

And while there are some bad actors out there ready and willing to take advantage of new hemp farmers, there are plenty of seed sellers with the right intentions.

You just need to find them. And make sure to get everything in writing.

Another thing to think about is…

Relying on Clones Instead Hemp Seeds

A lot of hemp farmers have grown wary of CBD hemp genetics coming from seed sellers.

So they’ve switched to clones.

And there’s a good reason for this – especially for farmers growing hemp for CBD.

You see, one of the main issues with hemp seeds is the chance they’ll yield male plants.

Even when a seed seller promises a high rate of feminized seeds, the tides don’t always turn this way.

Turning to clones eliminates this issue, and can prevent major disaster when it comes to farming hemp for high levels of cannabidiol.

However, there are other concerns you might stumble into when choosing clones over seeds.

Because there’s a high probability that the plant has passed through multiple facilities, the likelihood of powdery mildew on your hemp crop is higher.

The reality is, it’s going to take time for stable hemp genetics to become a unanimous prospect for all hemp farmers.

The future of hemp depends upon the cooperation and collaboration of all those involved in taking this plant to its true genetic potential.

Make no mistake about it: our industry holds a lot of promise. And if you follow the advice here, you will succeed as a hemp farmer.

The Beginner’s Guide to Hemp Farming for 2020 and Beyond

The Beginner’s Guide to Hemp Farming for 2020 and Beyond

By Justin Pullin

By 2025, experts project the industrial hemp market will be worth 26.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Needless to say…

If you’re getting into the hemp game, you’ve made a good choice.

I’m going to arm you with the knowledge you need to understand what you’re working with.

Because if you’re willing to take calculated risks, hemp farming can be a solid bet for raking in profits.

And that’s what we’re all looking for, right?

Now, listen…

I’m not gonna pretend that 2019 wasn’t rough.

It was.

Between challenging marketing conditions and a steep learning curve, many farmers struggled to complete their harvests from seed to sale.

And a lot of the farmers who rushed into hemp pulled out just as quickly.

However…

Hemp Farming Shows Tremendous Promise for the Future

If you’re reading this, then you’re someone who sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Someone willing to learn and put in the work necessary to succeed…

Which means you’re already in a great position to make it as a hemp farmer.

I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

You see, my team and I have been growing cannabis for years.

Our CEO, BigMike, started his first cannabis grow back in 1983.

Now, was it easy?

Heck no.

In fact, he readily admits that he killed his first crop.

No doubt, it took a whole lot of grit and determination to persevere past those initial failures.

However, there was a tremendous payoff for the effort he put in.

Since planting his first seed, BigMike’s gone on to launch Advanced Nutrients —the No. 1 cannabis fertilizer company in the world.

He introduced more than 53 innovations to the world of cannabis cultivation.

And growers in 107 countries feed their plants his nutrients.

Certainly, his success has been an inspiration for hundreds of thousands of growers looking to make it in this industry.

However…

Wealth alone wouldn’t have been enough to revolutionize the cannabis industry the way BigMike has.

Because the one thing he’s instilled in our team is a mission much bigger than money:

A mission to make cannabis an acceptable and everyday part of healing humanity.

So when the Farm Bill passed, we knew we had a huge opportunity to work towards this goal.

Now, we get the chance to work with people like you . . .

We get to lend our expertise to new farmers just discovering the miraculous nature of this plant.

And together, we’ve got more momentum than ever before.

I know it might seem like a beast right now.

But once you’re prepared –and we’ll get you there– I’m betting you’ll fall in love with it.

The same way BigMike did.

And the same way I have.

The reality is, there’s a lot of promise for eager farmers getting into hemp…

More than just a boatload of profit…

You’ve got an unprecedented opportunity to make history.

Sure, there’s a long road ahead of us here.

But no change as monumental as the one you’re making can happen overnight.

Okay, so what do you need to know about hemp to start on the path to success?

First, let’s take a step back ten thousand years.

Understanding Hemp: A Brief History of a 10,000-Year-Old Plant

Since the Farm Bill passed in 2018, hemp’s become the most promising new crop in agriculture.

In reality, though, this plant’s history goes back ten thousand years.

Because here’s the thing…

Ancient civilizations always understood the multi-purpose power behind the hemp plant.

China started cultivating hemp 6,000 years ago.

France, and a few other European countries, have been farming hemp for 700 years.

Buddhist texts dating back to 2,000 AD are written on hemp paper.

And civilizations have farmed hemp for its medicinal properties for centuries.

It was a staple in America before the first Puritans landed on Plymouth rock.

And it was the first government-subsidized crop in Canada.

So what happened?

Why did a plant with so much practical and therapeutic value get banned from society?

Like so many things, it all comes down to politics.

You see, 80 years ago, hemp was poised for great success.

In a February 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics (written the previous year), experts said hemp was on the threshold of becoming “the billion-dollar crop.”

That’s right.

In 1938, hemp was on the verge of the same success we’re seeing today . . .

Nearly a century later.

And newspaper and lumber industry tycoons felt threatened by hemp’s potential.

Pair that with companies whose money was on synthetic textiles –a prime hemp competitor–and you get a whole lot of people lobbying against the hemp plant.

And the lobbying worked.

In 1937, the government started raising taxes on hemp. Then they banned it entirely the very same year.

The prohibition of hemp was a power play.

And now that it’s legal again, many farmers are still trying to figure out how this plant works.

We’re here to educate and answer some of the most pressing questions about hemp farming, including…

How Do You Distinguish Between Hemp and Cannabis?

Hemp is the technical term for cannabis plants that produce less than 0.3% THC.

Other variations of the cannabis plant are grown for their psychotropic effects, which requires more than 0.3% THC.

Now, let’s take it a step further.

While these distinctions may help from a legal standpoint, they’re scientifically faulty…

Because categorizing the plant as “hemp” v. “cannabis” gives a relatively skewed perspective.

You see, there are three different species of plants within the cannabis genus:

Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis.

So when we refer to cannabis as hemp or cannabis, we’re not really distinguishing between different plants.

We’re only making a distinction between the amount of THC the plant produces.

Now, there are key differences in how you approach the cultivation of each.

And when you’re farming hemp, you’ve got to break it down again:

The Difference Between Farming Hemp for CBD v. Hemp for Fiber

The fact is, if you’re growing industrial hemp for fiber, you’re in for an easier time than if you’re growing hemp for CBD.

However, you still need a solid infrastructure in place to support harvesting, processing, and transportation.

Make sure you’ve got a processor in place, trust the seed source, and have the right equipment on your farm.

And if you’re used to farming other crops, ensuring these things are in place is par for the course.

Now, hemp farming for CBD is a whole different story.

Because here’s the thing…

Producing CBD requires a much greater amount of labor than seed and fiber.

And because of regulations, you’ll need to make sure your end-product has less than 0.3% THC–or your crop will be destroyed.

What’s more, CBD-rich hemp plants are all female.

When male plants arise, they threaten to pollinate your female plants. This forces them into seed production mode –and out of CBD-production mode.

So you’ll have to be vigilant about making sure no male plants make it into your field.

And another thing to consider…

You Must Establish the Ideal Environment for Boosting CBD

Now, we can’t control Mother Nature…

Which no doubt poses challenges for us farmers.

There are, however, certain things you can do to optimize your environment for hemp:

First, you’ll want to master soil conditions.

Hemp grows best in soils with a pH level of 6 or higher. Make sure the soil’s well-aerated to make room for oxygen and water penetration.

You see, soil moisture is crucial for germinating seeds and nourishing young plants in the vegetative stage.

If your roots can’t soak up enough water, it can lead to crop damage.

You’ll also do the best hemp farming in a mild climate with humidity, and 25-30 inches of annual rainfall.

A full sky of sunshine and 60-degree weather will do your plants good.

Next, make sure you’ve got adequate airflow.

This will help to prevent mold and mildew from destroying your crops.

If you’re farming hemp outdoors, allow 4-7 inches between each plant, and 2-4 feet between each row.

A Few Bonus Tips for a Profitable Hemp Season

Some additional things to keep in mind for a successful hemp season:

  • Get Quality Seeds: Don’t let shady hemp seed sellers ruin your potential. Make sure you’re working with someone you can trust. If you’re farming hemp for CBD, you must invest in seeds with the best genetics for cannabidiol.
  • Take Detailed Notes: The best way to turn on-the-go learning into structured, methodical steps for success? Record everything about your hemp season from seed to sale.
  • Join a Hemp Association: When it comes to hemp, collaboration outweighs competition any day. Team up with other farmers to strengthen your harvest and appeal to buyers.
  • Use a Hemp-Specific Fertilizer: Hemp’s nothing like corn or soy. So you don’t want to put your plants on the same diet they’d eat. Advanced Hemp is the only fertilizer made to match the needs of your plant’s genome… And it’s backed by 21 years of scientific research.
  • Finetune Harvesting Techniques: Make sure to test your hemp regularly for THC levels, so you can avoid hot hemp come harvest time.

Ready for a deep dive on how to make hemp your most profitable crop? Read more here.

There’s no doubt about it:

Hemp farmers are the trailblazers we need to level up our society and create the world we want to see.

I’m grateful you’re choosing to do your part.

Now, remember, there’s support out there for you.

Hemp solutions backed by science.

And growers who’ve overseen the cultivation of millions of CBD-rich plants long before the Farm Bill passed.

Our Advanced Hemp Team will be in lockstep with you throughout your harvest…

And if you have any questions, you can call us anytime at 971-979-4367 (HEMP).

9 Keys to Making Hemp Your Most Profitable Crop

9 Keys to Making Hemp Your Most Profitable Crop

By Justin Pullin

I wish I could say 2019 was a fantastic year for hemp farmers…

But we all know better.

If anything, the crop’s legal debut was a huge let down.

Now, a part of the “failure to launch” was beyond our control…

Like the sheer force of mother nature destroying crops and a glut in the market driving down prices.

Other factors, however, proved to be real “live and learn” moments for hemp farmers.

Things like seed selection, quality nutrition, and solid business strategies.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you learn today…

So you have a much better chance at succeeding in 2020 and beyond.

But first, I want to talk about the market.

Because here’s the thing…

With so many farmers pulling out at the end of 2019, demand is only increasing for the ones who are sticking it out.

The pendulum should start to swing the other way.

And even if the CBD boom were to subside, which I don’t think it will, the demand for fiber will be out of this world.

Bottom line… If you stick it out as a hemp farmer, the market will work in your favor.

Now, if you want to use 2019 as a growth experience, and set a solid foundation for success in 2020, read on to …

9 Critical Steps For a Profitable Hemp Farm in 2020

No doubt about it: hemp farming is hard work.

There are, however, some proven steps to help you rake in solid profits.

And if you’re staying in the game, you deserve to win big.

So what’s the first way to overcome the obstacles of growing hemp?

Obtain Quality Seeds

First things first, growing quality hemp starts with what you put in the ground.

So many farmers ended up with bad crops in 2019 because of the seeds they planted.

And if this happened to you, it’s not your fault.

There’s tons of people out there looking to make a quick buck…

And some will take advantage of hemp farmers by selling hemp seeds with weak genetic profiles.

However…

You can get the upper hand here.

Next time you go to buy hemp seeds, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • How reputable is the seller?
  • Are you growing for CBD or fiber?
  • How much acreage do you have for your hemp farm?
  • Are you growing under natural sunlight or indoors?
  • What’s your water supply like?
  • What’s your soil quality?

Getting these answers is crucial if you want to choose seeds with the best genetic profile for your hemp crop.

Now, another thing to consider…

A lot of people simply don’t know what it takes to breed quality seeds.

And that’s largely because hemp was prohibited for so long.

The reality is, most people haven’t been able to conduct thorough enough research.

So, when you look for seed sellers, always look for the diamond in the ruff…

Like the one with years of experience in the cannabis industry…

Who understands your hemp plants inside and out.

This is the biggest reason I’m seeing so many people turn to Advanced Hemp for their knowledge and experience.

Because our founder BigMike has been working with the cannabis plant since 1983.

When he started growing cannabis, the United States was 13 years into the dark ages of prohibition.

But he continued to shine a light on the plant’s genome…

And worked relentlessly to take cannabis to its true genetic potential.

These are the kinds of people you want to work with as a hemp farmer…

The trusted industry vets with years of hands-on experience cultivating cannabis from seed to senescence.

Now, besides securing quality hemp seeds, you’ll want to…

Secure a Buyer and Work Backwards

There’s no question about it.

If you’re used to farming corn, soybeans, or other traditional agricultural commodities, then you’re in for a surprise with hemp.

Because here’s the thing…

This isn’t the kind of crop you can deliver to an elevator for payment.

The fact is, if you don’t find a buyer, your crop’s gonna sit in storage.

So you will want to secure a buyer and then work backwards.

Identify costs for essentials like labor and materials, and then compare your expenses to revenue to make sure you’re working within good profit margins.

And don’t forget to do market research on hemp prices…

Because the reality is, they change quickly.

A quick google search with keywords like “prices for hemp” will give you a good idea of the current going rate.

One final – yet extremely important – note on finding a buyer:

A “handshake” agreement is not enough to secure your profit.

Make sure any deal that’s made is made in writing.

Once you’ve got your buyer in place, and have a solid grasp on the numbers, you’ll need to make sure you…

Record Everything About Your Hemp Season

Everyone’s saying these days that “data is king.”

And that’s especially true with new industries like hemp.

Let’s face it. We’re working with a market where there’s more questions than answers.

So a lot of the information for future success will come from getting granular now.

I can’t stress this enough…

The best way to chart the course to profit is to keep detailed cultivation records.

Make sure to note:

  • What type of seed you used
  • When you planted your crop
  • Soil conditions
  • Fertilizing regimen
  • Pest Pressure
  • Weather conditions

Detailed records provide real insight into what works and what doesn’t.

They’ll make you a better hemp farmer.

They’ll help you out when you go to the bank for a loan.

And even more important, strong records can help you attract a good buyer.

Why? Because they show you’re committed for the long run. And that can mean the difference between selling your crop and keeping it in storage.

Plus, a good set of books will keep you out of hot water with state and federal regulators. And they’ll help you resolve labor complaints, and testing discrepancies, should they arise throughout the hemp season.

Now when it comes to the hard work of hemp farming, you’ll first need to…

Identify the Best Method for Getting Started

As a hemp farmer you have three options.

You can sow a crop into the ground, seed it in a greenhouse, or take vegetative cuttings (clones).

So which is best?

Many farmers direct seed, and some say it helps to save on labor costs.

In cooler climates, however, you might be better off starting your plants undercover as plugs, and then setting them out once the weather warms up.

If, however, you’re farming hemp for CBD, cloning could be your best option.

Because if you take your cuttings from female plants, you don’t have to worry about any variables in sex.

Now if you decide to grow plants to full maturity in a greenhouse, you could run into some problems.

First off, hemp plants grown undercover can’t take full advantage of the sun’s rays.

And more importantly, they don’t develop a taproot when grown undercover. So they can easily topple over as they become larger and heavier.

We recommend growing outdoors. If you prefer growing undercover though, make sure you provide your plants with some kind of vertical support to keep them upright.

Feed Your Plants Hemp-Specific Nutrients

By now you know hemp is a finicky plant.

Nothing like the corn or soybean so many farmers are used to growing…

And the reality is, if you’re gonna succeed, you need to adapt your mindset from what you’ve known to work.

Fact is, traditional agriculture practices won’t cut it with hemp.

And that’s especially true when it comes to fertilizers.

You see, most traditional fertilizers rely on generic NPK ratios that aren’t optimized for hemp’s genetics.

What’s more, they don’t include the additional nutrients your crops crave to grow big, potent and strong.

Right now, there’s only one hemp-specific fertilizer on the market that meets hemp’s genetic demands.

And that’s Advanced Hemp.

What we’ve been able to do with hemp goes way beyond what new companies are doing.

And it’s not because we’re smarter or faster.

It’s because we’ve been in the game for way longer.

BigMike has been arming the cannabis world with the leading cannabis nutrients since 1999.

And he received one of the first three licenses in the world to grow cannabis for research purposes.

He’s overseen the cultivation of millions of cannabis plants since 1983.

So even before the Farm Bill passed, he was able to apply decades of research to hemp.

While other people are just now figuring out what the plant needs, BigMike and his team of two dozen PhDs have already introduced 53 cannabis cultivation innovations to the industry.

So when you feed your crops Advanced Hemp, they benefit from a formula proven to maximize their true genetic potential.

So any problem you’re running into now?

He’s already been there…

And he’s already identified the best solutions.

Of course, BigMike dialed in the ideal NPK ratio for hemp.

But that’s not the only benefit…

This hemp-specific fertilizer also featured a select blend of micronutrients…

Designed specifically to boost yield for fiber and CBD production.

And unlike other fertilizers, the nutrients in Advanced Hemp are chelated.

Simply put, that means your crops can absorb their food more effectively.

It’s an advanced process, and one only included by experts who get how to optimize plant nutrition for real results.

You can learn more about Advanced Hemp when you call 971-979-HEMP (4367) or email [email protected].

Now, hemp-specific nutrients are also a large part of the equation if you want to…

Maximize the Root Zone of Your Crops

Because here’s the thing…

If you want to gain the competitive advantage…

You’ll need to start beneath the ground.

Make no mistake about it:

Bigger roots equal bigger fruits.

And by setting up a strong foundation, you’ll promote rapid growth of tall plants for fiber or fat buds bursting with CBD.

If you’re starting your plants off in a greenhouse, you can maximize the root zone using potting mixes that contain beneficial mycorrhizae.

Water young seedlings well and then let them dry out. This will encourage root development as the roots expand to acquire water.

If you’re growing in the field at the early stages, the same logic applies. Make sure your irrigation system works well, and then allow the soil to drain and dry out somewhat.

And remember, phosphorus encourages root growth.

So you’ll need to find a fertilizer with the right amount of this major nutrient to encourage expansive root growth, whether you’re growing undercover or in the field.

Now, organic gardeners have known for years that soil undisturbed by chemicals naturally build up beneficial microbes, including mycorrhizae. These microbes contribute to a healthy plant that can ward off pest and disease pressure.

So make sure to check the ingredients in your fertilizer, and rely on one that won’t harm these beneficial microbes.

Team Up With Other Hemp Farmers

Not everyone has an investor buddy with deep pockets, and that’s okay.

You don’t need a rich investor to succeed in hemp.

You do need support, though. And some of the best support you’ll get is through partnering with other hemp farmers.

In fact, some of the most successful operations rely on multiple farmers who pool funds for storage and drying…

Or bulk together their harvest for shipping.

Even better: farmer partnerships are another strong selling point for buyers. It’s a good way to show them you’ll have a consistent supply of material and a critical mass to work with.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of any cooperative is to maximize profit margins, and keep money in the hands of its members.

Not in the hands of large corporations who make a pretty penny off your hard work.

And when it comes to the law, there’s strength in numbers.

By joining a cooperative, you’ll strengthen the industry voice, making arguments for beneficial rules and regulations more persuasive than one person’s voice could alone.

And speaking of rules…

Understand State and Federal Hemp Regulations

Sure, it might seem like a no-brainer for hemp farmers.

However, it can be difficult to keep up with all the constant changes.

You can stay in-the-know by regularly checking in with us here at Advanced Hemp…

And by making it a point to check in with the USDA and your state agriculture extension service.

The last thing you want is to find yourself at a dead end road…

Simply because some rule changed, and you weren’t aware of it.

Lastly…

Practice Proper Hemp Harvesting Techniques

There were a lot of things that didn’t go farmers’ way in 2019.

And one of the biggest was losing profits to hot hemp.

So whatever you do, make sure hot hemp doesn’t stand in the way of your success in 2020.

If you don’t want THC levels to destroy your crop this year, then make it a point to test your hemp on a regular basis.

Start testing at week 4 of the growing cycle, and continue testing every two weeks throughout the growing season.

You’ll notice that the CBD levels rise overtime…

Once they start to taper off or drop lower, it means the THC count’s about to go up.

And that is the precise moment you want to harvest to avoid hot hemp.

It’s a mistake you can easily avoid…

As long as you’re willing to do your due diligence.

Now, some cannabis growers swear by harvesting when trichomes near the buds turn from clear to opaque and then an amber red.

There are others, however, who say you can get away with harvesting earlier, and still reach acceptable amounts of CBD.

No matter what, make sure to harvest when CBD levels start to drop… And before THC levels begin to rise.

And if you’re farming industrial hemp for fiber, simply harvest when your crops reach their tallest height.

Need More Help? Call in the Experts

Make no mistake about it:

Growing good hemp won’t happen overnight.

However…

With hardwork, determination, and the right support network…

You WILL succeed.

And as the industry grows, you’ll grow with it.

As soon as you apply these 9 steps, you’ll be well on your way to making it as a hemp farmer.

Don’t let the failures of 2019 get in the way of your success.

And as always, if you need any help, we’ll be in lockstep with you throughout your journey.

How To Address the Most Pressing Problems Threatening to Destroy Your Hemp Crop

How To Address the Most Pressing Problems Threatening to Destroy Your Hemp Crop

As a hemp farmer, you’re in for an uphill battle when it comes to keeping your crops safe from pests and diseases.

In fact, a recent UC Cooperative Extension Survey identifies the 9 vertebrate pests, 14 insect pests, and 13 diseases that cannabis growers contend with each season.

Of course, the most common pests and disease vary by region . . .

But make no mistake about it: if you’re in the hemp game, you need to learn how to identify the very things threatening to destroy your hard work.

By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of these pests and diseases, so you can . . .

  • Plot the best path forward for pest prevention
  • Decide if you need to move an outdoor grow undercover
  • Discern when to sacrifice of a few of your hemp plants
  • Share your knowledge with other hemp farmers

Alright, let’s dive in.

Insect Pests

Worms & Caterpillars

These creatures are wildly attracted to your hemp crop, cozying up inside the buds so they can, erm, do their business. They’re difficult to control if you don’t take swift action, and are ruthless when it comes to attacking your acreage. Different species prefer different parts of the plant; corn earworms may move into the flower, while wireworms attack at that root and can destroy the whole plant.

The Solution: You can apply a biological insecticide like DiPelâl while the larvae is still small and manageable. Or, if you live in mild weather conditions, get parasitic wasps to act as your pest control.

Aphids

Sticky buds bristling with CBD are great.

Sticky buds coated in aphids? Not so good.

You see, these tiny aphids suck the sap out of your plants, creating a milky coating that leads to mold. And even if you use an organic pesticide to kill them, their dead carcasses will create mold too.

The Solution: Do not remove plants infested with aphids, as they can just drop off that plant and onto others. Instead, turn a plumber’s torch on low and burn the plants where they are.

Leafhoppers

Everyone gets thirsty when it’s hot and dry outside, including those pesky leafhoppers dying to suck the sap out of your plants. And when they do, your hemp crops will endure clusters of leaf damage in the form of white spots. With larger infestations, those spots can lead to yellow, dying leaves.

The Solution: You can control an infestation of leafhoppers with Spinosadâ, a certified organic substance whose soil microbes effectively treat pests in the larval stage. Note that this substance presents potential harm to honey bees for the first 3 hours after application.

Thrips

Tiny but ruthless, thrips are barely perceptible pests that threaten to pierce the cells of your hemp leaves and suck out all of their contents. Most common for growers with indoor hemp crops, thrips become a problem when they present in large quantities. You’ll also be more likely to attract them if you’re growing hemp nearby other crops.

The Solution: Because thrips flock to water-stressed hemp plants, the best way to prevent them is through sound irrigation practices.

Mites

Hemp plants can successfully withstand a small population of mites. But as soon as that number grows, these pests will pierce through leaves and suck the color out of them from the bottom leaves all the to the top. And as a hemp farmer, that means contending with weak, brittle foliage, damaged buds, and ultimately, a ruined profit.

The Solution: Interestingly enough, you can fight these sucking mites with other predatory mites.

Mold

Of all the things that went wrong in the 2019 hemp season, mold was at the top of the list.

Why?

Because moldy hemp plants lead to bud rot . . .

Which is an inevitable death sentence for your end product (and your profit).

“In certain regions, mold and mildew can become a serious issue for some farmers,” says Advanced Hemp expert Justin Pullin.

“Although an outdoor environment is in the hands of mother nature, we can still take preventative measures to help alleviate any issues that can arise. If you have the right system in place to accommodate for things like airflow, it can make a huge difference in health of your crop.”

The Solution: Some hemp farmers suggest rotating your crops to protect against mold buildup. However, the most proven method of prevention is purchasing mold-resistant hemp seeds from a vetted seller. And when you notice powdery mildew developing on your plants, prune them. If they’re already showing severe damage, you’ll want to part ways with them for the greater good of the rest of your crop.

Cross-Pollination

Now, there are a number of reasons why some hemp farmers aren’t returning to the industry in 2020.
Chief among them, however, is the troubling reality of cross-pollination so many farmers contended with last year.

You see, when pollen spreads from surrounding hemp farms that aren’t relying on feminized seed, it can wreak havoc on your crop’s value. When male plants pollinate your female plants, they can longer focus on maximizing their genetic potential to produce high volumes of CBD and other chemical compounds. Instead, they’re busy focusing their energy on creating seed.

The last thing you need is a seeded-out hemp crop distracting your plants from developing big yields filled with sticky buds and valuable compounds.

The Solution: You can’t control prevailing winds that carry pollen from farm to farm, or hot and dry weather that encourages pollen to drop. You can, however, advocate for other hemp growers to use feminized seeds.

Talk to your neighbors so you can come up with a game plan for finding and culling male plants, as well as staggering acreage so each of your crops remains isolated enough to prevent cross-pollination.

When it comes to prevents mold, pest, and cross-pollination, preparation is the biggest to success.

2020 Hemp Projections Are a Mixed Bag

2020 Hemp Projections Are a Mixed Bag

In 2019, droves of farmers got into the hemp game with the hopes of huge profits.

Now, many of those farmers are pulling out.

What has happened in the hemp industry is a classic case of managing expectations for a new, rapidly growing market.

Mass overproduction in 2019 caused two major problems for hemp farmers: cheap wholesale prices, and unsold harvests.

There’s no doubt about it: the hemp industry is a risky business for farmers who aren’t vertically integrated. The fact is, costs are too high for many to proceed with confidence.

Combine challenging market conditions with a fickle plant, and the result is what we’re seeing right now: a contraction of hemp acreage in key states and licensed producers shying away from the crop.

Take Montana as an example. In Hemp Benchmark’s May Report, they noted that the state’s licensed acreage was poised to decrease dramatically in 2020.

The main culprit?

A volatile CBD market.

You see, the value of cannabidiol was initially based on small-scale production coming from cannabis growers…

So when the CBD boom took off a couple of years ago, many of the farmers were basing their sales projections off of a product that had never been farmed on a mass scale.

That all changed when the U.S. Farm Bill allowed farmers to start farming hemp for CBD.

And it wasn’t just the United States that raced to cash in on cannabidiol. Both Canada and Europe began repositioning their already established industrial hemp markets, switching the focus from fiber and grain to hemp for CBD.

With so many people rushing into the game, an overcrowded marketplace skyrocketed the first-ever CBD surplus. Suddenly, the world’s most valuable cash crop simply wasn’t worth the return on investment for farmers.

And 2020 hemp projections come with even more uncertainty, due to COVID-19’s impact and unstable regulations. Many farmers who rushed into the industry have already become jaded about its potential.

However…

Savvy hemp farmers are staying in the game. They’re simply taking a more cautious approach this time around.

Hemp Projections for 2020: How Farmers Are Reapproaching Their Fields

Many are plotting smaller acres and testing multiple strains to see which yields the most potent crop.

And for every hemp farmer who’s pulling out, there is another farmer applying for a license.

According to Hemp Benchmarks, Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection had received 1,4999 hemp grower applications by June 12 of this year. These numbers aren’t far off from what the state saw in 2019, and half of those applications came from new hemp farmers eager to cash in on the lucrative potential of the crop.

Now, some hemp farmers have shifted their focus to growing industrial hemp for fiber or grain. However, the vast majority of the industry will continue to hone in on maximizing CBD production.

In reality, this isn’t an issue of a failed industry. Like any other industry boom, it’s an issue of growing pains. And the farmers who persevere will play a huge part in shaping the future of hemp.

“In emerging markets, especially during a pandemic, it can be hard to predict the future of an industry – Specifically, the hemp market,” says Advanced Hemp grow expert Justin Pullin.

The thing is, hemp’s growing fast and has experienced growing pains… However, with proper planning and a well-rounded game plan (with back up plans), you can set yourself up for success. The most important thing is to be prepared for any obstacles and implement the strategies you’ve put in place.”

The fact is, you can still succeed as a hemp farmer.

CBD sales projections still show a positive longterm outlook for the hemp market.

Industry advocates will continue to work on our side.

If you want to come out on top, you’ll need to have a solid game plan …

And a full team of expert support backing you along the way.

3 Action Steps for Persevering in Hemp – Even When Other Farmers Drop Out of the Race

  • Start Small and Scale: Hemp for CBD is here to stay. So if you want to get into the space, you have to do it smart. Start small and experiment with the best hemp strains for your environment before going all in and increasing your hemp acreage.
  • Have a Game Plan: We can’t stress this enough. Know what you’re doing with your hemp before you plant the first seed in the ground. Find your north star in the industry, and point your sails in the right direction.
  • Only Feed Your Hemp the Good Stuff: Hemp is an accumulator plant. That means your crops are going to absorb nutrients in the deepest layers of your soil, including unrefined raw materials. When you feed your plants Advanced Hemp, your crops enjoy refined raw materials in the exact ratios your plants need to thrive. And with solid nutrients backed by 21 years of science, you can be confident in the product quality you’re putting out to the market.

Curious to learn more about how we can help you level up your hemp game in 2020? Talk to a hemp expert today.

Hemp Farming for CBD is Here to Stay. But Is It Profitable?

Hemp Farming for CBD is Here to Stay. But Is It Profitable?

By Justin Pullin

One of the best indications that CBD is going strong is seeing it stocked on the shelves of Kroger and Walmart.

You can’t argue with that success.

While prices for CBD oil and flower are dropping — and may drop even further — the compound is still viewed by Americans as a powerful ingredient in foods, supplements, and self-care products.

That means if you’re learning how to grow hemp for CBD, you’re making a good move.

You just need a solid gameplan.

While it’s true that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give its stamp of approval for nutritional supplements and foods containing CBD, government regulators are wise to the fact that people want it on store shelves.

Balms and salves containing CBD — which are currently not subject to the same kind of approval by the FDA — have been popular with the American public for years.

CBD is now a mainstay in many US homes.

Everything from CBD rubs that treat joint pain and reduce inflammation, to salves for comforting sore muscles and soothing irritated skin — all are selling well nationwide.

But it’s not all rosy news.

A hemp report released by New Leaf Data Services cited CBD oil prices falling sharply (more than 25 percent) from December 2019 to January 2020. That provides a snapshot of the situation we currently face when farming hemp for CBD.

The CBD market is saturated and is in flux. But there are a couple of things you can do to up your odds of being successful with a CBD-rich crop.

Hemp Farming for CBD Requires Preparation

You have to be strategic about farming this plant.

You need to line up a buyer early on. And you need to start with stable, proven hemp genetics rich in cannabinoids.

Sustainable living is at an all-time high right now. That’s a fact. So while you can’t predict some things about the CBD market, you can predict that people will continue to want products rich in CBD.

That’s valuable information.

And that information can help point you in the direction of a good buyer.

The thousands of new CBD products coming online means a lot of demand for CBD oil.

A report by the Brightfield Group during the COVID-19 crisis showed a large uptick in CBD purchases. Of those polled, 48 percent said they’ve stocked up on or plan to stock up on CBD, and 39 percent said they planned to use CBD more frequently.

Avoid 2019’s Hemp-Killing Mistakes

Unbridled optimism from hemp farmers in 2019 meant that a lot of people jumped into growing hemp with little or no experience. Many were underprepared and couldn’t sell their crops. In some cases, their CBD content tested too low, while others had THC levels that were too high and were no longer considered hemp.

Both of those scenarios could have been avoided by purchasing reliable, stable hemp genetics with proven track records of high CBD and low THC.

Planning makes all the difference. You can control a lot of this.

Nail down a good hemp strain that’s high in CBD from a trusted seed breeder. You’d also be wise to ask for a certificate of analysis detailing total THC percentages, terpene profiles, and other valuable compounds.

Show those numbers to a potential buyer and they’ll listen up. That information is gold when courting a buyer.

There will be increased competition in this market — but preparation gives you an edge.

Interest in learning how to grow hemp is increasing year by year. In 2019, the Washington, DC-based lobbying advocacy group Vote Hemp calculated that nearly 230,000 acres were licensed for hemp growing in the U.S., compared to 78,176 acres in 2018.

One major positive change for the steady growth of hemp farming in 2020 is the development of infrastructure over the last year. For instance, we can now count on more machinery available to process hemp plants — making it a far more profitable crop than in previous years.

We can also look forward to the plant receiving more credibility than ever before.

Hemp farming is going mainstream.

The federal government’s support for hemp-derived CBD hit a new highwater mark this year when the Trump administration doled out millions in forgivable emergency loans to companies selling CBD products through the Paycheck Protection Program.

That means we’re gaining political clout, too.

And it means serious muscle behind hemp farmers to help propel the entire industry.

Going forward as we farm hemp for CBD products, we can count on support from the FDA, one of the main government bodies regulating CBD products.

And we’re already starting to see progress. One crucial event since the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill that marked a turning point for the national support of CBD in America — and still continues to carry weight — was the approval of the drug Epidiolex by the FDA last year.

Epidiolex is the first-ever plant-derived, pharmaceutical-grade medication available in the U.S. that’s made with CBD. Helping patients with Dravet syndrome — some as young as 2 years old — Epidiolex has proven that CBD can be safe and effective at treating seizure disorders.

Like any developing industry, we’ve got our work cut out for us. Not only are regulations adjusting rapidly, but many farmers are also realizing that learning how to grow hemp is stepping into uncharted agricultural territory.

As the business of farming hemp continues to move mainstream, detailed planning ahead of a CBD-rich hemp crop will have a big impact on your success.

How to Select the Best Hemp Strain for Your Location and Needs

How to Select the Best Hemp Strain for Your Location and Needs

By Andy the Farmer

It all starts with the right genetics.

Choosing the best hemp strain for your climate and selling needs is the most pivotal decision you’ll make in preparing for a profitable farming season.

There’ve been some dodgy seed sellers out there, so it’s important to know your source.

Start with good, strong hemp seeds that are provided by sellers who can prove to you that their genetics are sound.

Credible seed breeders will gladly supply a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that shows essential points like total THC and CBD percentages, terpene profiles, and micro-cannabinoids (like CBG and CBN).

Knowing what you can expect from a hemp strain right off the bat means that your crop will have the best chance at thriving and being valuable to buyers.

You’ll want to know that your genetics are stable, that germination rates are good, and sexing ratios are what you want.

High CBD Content or Hemp Fiber? Pinpoint Your End Product First

It’s also critical to have a good idea what you’re growing for. Knowing your desired end product early on in the process will provide a roadmap for the season.

Are you growing flower for the cannabidiol (CBD/CBN/CBG) market?

Are you growing for grain or fiber?

It’s important to nail down your plans from the very start, and plan accordingly.

Planning way ahead will also tell you the kind of plant genetics you need.

If you’re looking to grow hemp containing high levels of the popular compounds CBD or CBG, it’s important to look for seeds from a trusted breeder with a proven track record of delivering genetics rich in those cannabinoids.

Remember, any reputable seller will happily supply you with documentation showing prior success and testimonials. The good ones will also stand behind their numbers.

More than a few hemp farmers in 2019 reported that their product was rejected by buyers late in the game when preliminary tests during flowering revealed inferior levels of CBD.

They learned a lesson.

If it’s fiber or grain you’re after, there are specific hemp strains available for those particular purposes that can dependably deliver plants with traits that give the best results for your end products.

Good Hemp Seed Banks Can Guarantee Stable Genetics

Because most American hemp farmers have only experienced one full legal growing season since the 2018 US Farm Bill made growing hemp legal, the majority of hemp farmers have been struggling to find footing with the new crop.

Hemp can sometimes be a bear to manage.

Many of the issues in 2019 happened when farmers purchased seeds that had a poor chance of growing well under certain conditions.

Farmers growing in greenhouses, for instance, would find it best to hunt down hemp strains that have more immunity against mold. Some hemp seed is specifically better for growing outdoors, with traits that make them less likely to attract pests like corn earworms or mites.

You see, hemp is unlike conventional crops — like soybean or wheat — that have long-standing reputations for stable genetics with predictable outcomes. Instead, the hemp plant enjoys way less of that seed-breeding history.

And because the market is still in the process of maturing, hemp seed breeders are working out how best to stabilize new genetics.

Still, there are some very capable seed breeders out there. Good breeders will show you paperwork that backs up their claims.

The Best Hemp Strains Will Match Your Regional Climate

Consideration should also be given to the prevailing weather in your region, as well as any harsh climate conditions that can suddenly arise. Some hemp strains are better equipped than others to handle swings in the environment. Short and squatty strains, for example, will naturally be better prepared to withstand winds.

Some plants are better in dry climates, while some are better in humid conditions.

The strain you choose should match your region.

Consider Sexing Rates When Farming Hemp for CBD

You should also be thinking about sexing rates. If you’re growing for fiber, males don’t present as much of a problem. But if you’re growing for CBD flower, you’ll want to minimize males as much as possible.

This becomes an even bigger issue as acreage grows. You might pay more per hemp seed for a feminized strain (typically averaging 90 percent females) but you’ll save a lot of labor costs by not having to cull all those males.

As mentioned, a lot of farmers got stung last year when purchasing CBD hemp strains they thought were brimming with the valuable compound. Oregon farmer Gary was one of them.

Gary did his homework and charted a course for his season early in 2019, intending to grow a high-CBD flower strain. He found a cultivar that he’d heard grew exceptionally well in his climate; it was reported to be a good CBD producer.

Shortly after planting, Gary met a party interested in buying CBD-rich hemp flower, and he negotiated what he considered to be a good price for his future crop. He thought he was off to the races.

Little did he know that his plan would fall apart come harvest time.

He didn’t give the deal a whole lot of thought until late in the summer when he started testing his hemp for CBD levels.

At the time of the negotiation (a handshake agreement), the buyer had not specified a minimum percentage threshold he required for his CBD content. Gary had no way of knowing his product might prove lacking come harvest time.

The seed breeder he purchased from told Gary that the cultivar was high-CBD, so Gary took that pledge at face value.

Not getting the offer in writing would prove to be a fatal misstep.

But an even bigger mistake — one that more than a few new hemp farmers made in 2019 — was not buying his seed from a reputable source that could absolutely guarantee satisfactory CBD percentages.

Seed breeder claims of “hemp for CBD” are often ambiguous, and at times downright deceptive. Gary unfortunately found that out the hard way. His deal fell through and he was left holding the bag.

We’re in a Wild West period in American hemp farming. It’s Deadwood out there, with some bad actors taking advantage of trusting farmers and looking merely to make a quick buck.

But there are also mountains of opportunity for industrious, hard workers looking to stake a claim. All that’s needed is a little guidance and a lot of sweat. No one knows that better than farmers.

At Advanced Hemp, we’re here to help steer you in the right direction with not only hemp fertilizer, but genetics as well.

Because it all starts with the right genetics.

Tips for Harvesting, Drying, and Processing Hemp for Highest CBD Production

Tips for Harvesting, Drying, and Processing Hemp for Highest CBD Production

By Justin Pullin

Making a first dive into harvesting, drying, and processing industrial hemp for CBD is something you never forget. A very different crop from what most farmers are used to, the hemp plant’s challenges are unique — if not downright alien.

Crops like fruit, vegetables, and hay come with similar rough challenges and labor, but hemp’s an entirely different beast.

It’s sticky with resin and can be a real bear to handle. It can be unpredictable, particularly near harvest when it requires a sharp eye to maximize those valuable cannabidiol (CBD) levels.

You’ll also be walking the tightrope of minimizing THC content.

To preserve the highest possible CBD, you’ll want to handle the plants carefully or risk bursting trichomes on the plant’s surface that create cannabinoids.

As is the case with lots of crops, hemp is often at the mercy of Mother Nature’s whims. But hemp is also extra-sensitive to bugs, weeds, and molds due to shifting government rules around using insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best tips you’ll need to know in order to harvest and process hemp for CBD.

Testing THC Levels to Protect Hemp for CBD

One of the challenges you’ll face is knowing exactly the best time to cut your hemp plants.

The goal is to maximize CBD content while minimizing THC levels.

It’s helpful to run preliminary tests of cannabinoids using third-party labs — prior to your state-mandated tests — to see where you’re at with CBD and THC levels.

It’s key to make sure plants remain below the legal federal threshold of 0.3 percent THC. That number is your absolute outside percentage of THC allowed. Testing on a weekly basis beginning in the early bloom phase will be critical.

As THC levels approach 0.2 percent, you’ll need to start seriously thinking about harvesting your hemp. From there, THC can suddenly jack up over 0.3 percent and put your whole crop in jeopardy.

Too many hemp farmers got caught with “hot plants” that had to be destroyed in 2019, testing over the 0.3 percent threshold.

There are visual cues, too, that you can use to see that plants are approaching the harvest window — but they’re hard to catch with the naked eye. They’re best viewed using a relatively cheap 40x-60x zoom pocket microscope.

That handy device will show you the tiny glands called trichomes on flower surfaces. Similar to the changing of fall leaves, they’ll turn from clear to milky white to amber when the flower is nearing completion.

Protecting Your Hemp Harvest From Weather Conditions

It’s a fairly basic concept to tell a farmer to keep an eye on the weather. But with hemp, it’s critical.

Rain and wind can mean substantial water collection on beefy flowers that are hitting their peak in September and October. The last thing you want is to break a branch and burn profits.

Mold and disease are big worries during flowering time, so pay attention to airflow around your plants. In some cases, that means spacing plants in a way that allows for adequate air.

Humid climates could require more spacing and air for your plants, while in dryer climates it’s less of a consideration.

Keep in mind that greater spacing doesn’t have to mean less yield.

More space between plants can also mean more room for bigger plants.

The Right Tools Can Safeguard Your Hemp’s CBD Content

There are some must-have tools you’ll want when processing hemp plants by hand, including gloves, heavy-duty shears or tree/shrub loppers, and machetes.

For mechanical harvesting, some farmers found it more efficient to chop plants using a sickle mower connected by gooseneck behind a tractor. That made quick work of cutting.

Plastic carrying totes are great to have in the 20- to 30-gallon range. Totes are ideal for transporting processed plants and are the best carriers to avoid overpacking and bruising flowers.

A key thing to remember is to handle your plants with care. Think of it like fruit. The more you move it, the more bruising potential.

Every stage of cutting, hauling, and drying disturbs those precious trichomes that carry CBD.

You’re looking to maintain the integrity of the plant through every stage of processing hemp for CBD. For instance, some hemp farmers find it necessary to cover trailers in visqueen to keep plants off hot surfaces (like metal) and preserve trichomes and terpenes.

Every time you move or handle the plant during this process, you risk CBD levels dropping.

So keep movements to a minimum.

Some farmers prefer to cut plants whole at the base of the stalk and carry away the entire plant. Others begin at the top of the plant, harvesting the largest top flowers first and working downward.

Whole-plant harvesting is faster for transport to a drying space, but this approach will lead to slower drying times due to greater plant volume. That stalk contains a lot of water weight.

Cutting away branch by branch requires more time investment but leads to a faster hang dry.

Chopping mechanically is far quicker — but again, it’s harder on the plants and you want to preserve those trichomes.

Hang Drying Hemp for Mold and Dust Prevention

For hang drying, it’s helpful to dissect the stalk and branches to form check-mark shapes that create a natural hanging infrastructure. That hooked shape will make for a perfect area to line dry the branch and buds.

Setting up a hang-drying zone is preferably done in a large room, barn, or overhanging structure where plants can be hung upside down from wires set up like clotheslines.

You should make sure that drying facilities are clean and free of dust and other matter that could taint sticky, trichome-heavy flowers. Leave enough room between hanging plants so they get plenty of air movement — a good exchange of air around plants is vital.

Low-velocity air that creates a gentle breeze all around — and doesn’t blow directly on the plants, which can dry them too fast — is best. If possible, keep your hemp plants out of direct sunlight to protect the CBD content.

Generally, an acceptable temperature range for hang drying hemp is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity between 40 and 70 percent.

In humid conditions, pay particular attention to airflow.

The aim is to continuously wick away bound moisture content and get your hemp below 10 percent moisture. The lumber industry has some great moisture meters that check for water content. They’re inexpensive and a great tool to have to avoid drying too fast.

Hang drying typically takes between seven and 10 days, depending on conditions of the facility and climate. Keep a close eye on plants for mold during this time. As they slowly dry, they’re open to attracting mold.

When to Consider Mechanical Drying a Hemp Harvest

You’ll want to consider mechanical drying if you’re farming more than a few acres of hemp. Wet plant weight can add up fast and be a real chore to dry by hand.

Also, if you have limited space for drying, you’ll have little choice but to go the mechanical dry route. Time and space are going to be major factors in deciding your drying process.

There are a thousand ways to skin a cat. You should go with what feels right for your particular space.

When drying hemp mechanically, the bucking process means that growers spend far less time cutting branches and setting up drying areas. Buds are rapidly whipped off of branches, similar to shucking corn, and placed into totes for transport to drying.

Remember, all this commotion that comes with bucking plants will mean a decrease in CBD amounts. However, the payoff is the time you’ll save.

The mechanical drying process is far more efficient and can be completed in as little as one to two days, as opposed to hang drying which can take seven to 10 days.

There are a growing number of advancements currently happening in mechanical hemp drying, so options for this type of drying are expanding constantly.

Also, this year there are bound to be even more co-ops than there were in 2019 that have drying systems available for members, and even more machine rental companies that will be jumping into hemp drying.

Mechanical methods have the upside of saving hemp farmers a lot of time and effort, but a loss of CBD is your trade off compared to hang drying.

You’ll have to decide which is your best fit.

Remember, there’s not a particular way to dry hemp — mostly it’ll come down to your own personal needs, space, and time commitment.

Dial in your best drying process and you’ll get the most CBD out of your hemp that’s possible.