As the CBD boom continues, farmers across the country are ditching their former crops in favor of something more chill: hemp.
According to US Department of Agriculture data, the amount of farmland planted with hemp quadrupled in the past year, Quartz reports.
How did this all happen so fast?
Two words — decriminalization and demand.
First, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp farming legal last year, allowing farmers to start producing hemp plants as long as they are less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
Then, when the first CBD products appeared — mostly in pain-relieving wellness products — they were hugely successful.
Demand for CBD-infused everything soon followed… Now, shoppers can buy CBD-infused fast food burgers (thanks, Carl’s Jr.), tea, honey, beer, chocolate, dog treats, bath salts, deodorants, protein powders, hot sauce, coffee, gummy candy, shampoo, and face creams… and the list goes on.
But all that CBD comes from hemp…
And all that hemp has to be grown
So farmers are scrambling to grow the newest, chillest cash crop. Even farmers who formerly had no interest in hemp are starting to grow it.
Why? Consider this: An acre of soybeans will make a farmer $500. An acre of hemp could make them as much as $30k.
For now, hemp farming may be a great deal for farmers. But regulators have yet to develop proper oversight practices, and some industry groups worry that hemp prices are still too volatile to take seriously.
No one knows when the high (prices) will wear off…
“The boom is coming mostly from word-of-mouth reports about hemp’s profitability,” reports the Hemp Industry Daily.
For now, growth is poised to continue: Planting of industrial hemp increased 368% from 2018 to 2019, outpacing all other crops, and some big producers — like Ben & Jerry’s — have expressed interest in buying CBD but are holding off until federal laws become more clear.
But if it turns out that the market for CBD dog treats isn’t as big as it’s being billed, the CBD boom could quickly go bust for the farmers who put all their hemp in one basket…