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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.