At Cedar Valley Farms, we didn’t jump into the hemp farm game without a solid plan. We saw the mistakes many made in 2019, and we set out to not only avoid them, but make the process more efficient for everyone. Here are 3 big takeaways from our process that we urge anyone looking at getting into hemp farming to take into consideration.
Can I make money from growing hemp?
The short answer is yes, however, profitability requires good support and planning. The wealth of industry knowledge about planting, fertility, and harvest that farmers who grow commodities are used to isn’t available for hemp yet. At Cedar Valley, we have a solid farming history with generations of experience growing standard agricultural commodities. Before we got started with hemp, we knew we would need to do more research.
We started by looking at how the market chain between farmers and their paychecks was impacted by a lack of foresight in 2019. We set out to learn about the retailers and their products. We took many steps back from the actual process of just growing hemp to look at formulations, extraction, and more. It’s important to try and get that market chain developed before you jump into a hemp grow if you plan on coming out of the endeavor with a positive ROI.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Starting small is never a bad idea. Here are few steps we took to try and make sure we didn’t get in over our heads at Cedar Valley:
- Test plots may be a good way to limit your risk while learning how the crop handles conditions on your farm. This is one of the reasons we decided to work on indoor and outdoor grows.
- Because hemp seed doesn’t have a seed coat, germination in the field can be a challenge.
- Cross pollination can cause quality problems. To protect your crop, plant hemp inside a buffer zone to keep it away from hemp that may be growing wild in ditches or neighboring property.
With proper management, hemp can be very productive on a small amount of land. If done right, the potential to make more money on 1 acre than 100 is absolutely tangible.
Make sure you are getting quality hemp seed
Not all hemp seed on the market is quality. People with no agriculture background are jumping into the seed business because there’s quick money to be made from farmers who haven’t done their homework. A lot of people are peddling seed because it’s valuable right now.
If you’re growing for CBD quality, feminized seed is important. You don’t want to buy cheap, regular seed with a bunch of males or you’re going to cut your crop in half before you ever get started.
Find genetics with references. Talk to another farmer growing at the same latitude in similar environmental conditions who has experience with the seed. A good hemp genetics company will know how big their variety gets, what resilient characteristics it has, and what end uses it’s best suited for.
Lastly, collect data! Throughout the growing season keep good records so you can improve your seed selection and decision making for the next year.