The American hemp market is predicted to reach more than $26 billion within the next five years. After the passing of the Farm Bill of 2018, many of those investors and farmers that took the initial leap aren’t so confident in its potential for pay dirt. The precarious start of what’s being hyped as a great boom for agriculture world-wide has some complaining that the hemp business is not what it was touted to be.
Several unforeseen setbacks have materialized in the wake of hemp’s first 2 years as a legal commodity. At Cedar Valley Farms, one of the first farms in Ohio to be licensed to grow hemp, we are tackling these challenges head on. To ensure a stable market for investors and farmers to succeed, CVF is identifying the most common problems hemp farmers have been dealing with.
Too much hemp, not enough market
According to a recent report from The National Hemp Association:
“CBD sales reached $1.9 billion by 2018, and these sales are expected to grow exponentially every year through the next few years. More specifically, sales of hemp-based CBD (rather than marijuana-based CBD) are expected to comprise over $12 billion of the $20 billion that has been forecasted for 2024”
This seems like it would be a rather enticing incentive for any struggling American farmer, and it has been. A 2019 study by the Brightfield Group shows that 285,000 acres of hemp were grown last year in the U.S. – a 72 percent increase from 2018. But, unlike corn or wheat, there aren’t local grain elevators for storage. This forced a lot of first-time farmers to sit on a harvested crop waiting for a flooded market to subside while watching their hard work go to seed.
CVF recognizes that before these forecasted new markets emerge fully in the U.S., farmers must have the proper facilities not only to grow but also to store their post-harvest hemp crops. To avoid product deterioration, we have established technology-driven solutions to suit a variety of industry storage needs:
- With the treatment of biomass, our goal is to get it processed into a crude oil as soon as possible, as the oil is a stable form for long term storage until the market is favorable to move the product.
- For smokable flower there are a few approaches we can implement. One is to remove the oxygen to prevent oxidation and replace it with nitrogen. Once this is done it can be stored in 55-gallon drums for up to 3 years.
- CVF is also using an organic protein spray that speeds up the drying process. This process creates a barrier around the flower to prevent or slow decomposition.
Growing hemp is not as easy as growing a weed
Many farmer’s new to hemp underestimate how difficult hemp can be to grow. It’s unlike any other plant-based commodity currently in the marketplace. Due to a severe lack of technological advancements and scientific study in hemp agrobusiness over the last 100 years, industrial hemp production has been blind-sided during its grand re- emergence into the market.
CVF is employing precision agriculture methods to resolve issues with the current process of growing hemp. We are committed to becoming the pioneer that creates a map – from growth, to processing, to product – that illustrates a direct path for profit the hemp industry needs in order to flourish.