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.
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.
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.
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.