With the passage of last year’s Farm Bill, farmers across the country are looking to start growing hemp. The price of many crops have fallen in recent years, so they see hemp as a potential income source. However, there are several challenges with growing hemp compared to other crops.
Here are five thing to be aware of if you are hoping to begin hemp farming.
First-Year Yields May Not Be Ideal
Some of the main challenges with hemp farming are delayed planting schedules or heavy rains that may create an initial harvest that is less profitable than expected. Like any other crop, successful growing is also a matter of trial and error. It may take a few years to find your sweet spot.
More Labor Is Required
Growing hemp is a labor-intensive process. It requires more man power and hours compared to other crops. Certain types of hemp plants are also put into the ground as seedlings. This means much of the work producing it is done by hand.
It’s Expensive To Get Off The Ground
Growing hemp effectively on a mass scale will require machinery. This means purchasing modern equipment or retrofitting existing ones, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. You will also likely need to hire additional workers for the harvest season.
Hemp Plants Could Be Stolen
Many hemp farmers are reporting their plants being stolen by people who mistake them for marijuana. Not only is this frustrating, but it can be financially damaging. Some farmers are taking extra steps by hiring guards to watch their fields at night or installing security equipment.
There Are Limited Markets
A report from the Brightfield Group shows that 285,000 acres of hemp were grown in the U.S. this year. That’s a 72% increase from last year. However, some farmers struggle to find a market where they can sell it and must compete with established exchanges. There are also other financial issues such as difficulties in working with banks and obtaining crop insurance.