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.
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.