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2020 Hemp Harvest Outlook: Production acreage decreases for first year since 2014 hemp pilot reestablished crop

Published August 24, 2020 | By Hemp Industry Daily staff

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The hemp industry has seen its share of struggles and growing pains over the past year, but it’s also witnessed a year full of changes and forward progress.

After the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp a legal commodity and took the plant off the list of controlled substances in the United States, the market took off. People rushed into the hemp scene—but many of them were inexperienced and had never planted anything before.

States licensed a combined 511,442 acres of production across 34 states in 2019, more than quadruple the number of acres licensed from 2018, according to industry advocacy group Vote Hemp. Of that licensed total, farmers ultimately planted roughly 230,000 acres and likely harvested closer to 115,000 acres.

Several reasons can be blamed for the large number of planted acres not being harvested, including:

  • A lack of pesticides to keep insects and disease at bay.
  • The labor intensive nature of planting, maintaining and harvesting the crop.
  • Farmers failing to have harvesting, drying and storage plans.

Even with all of those factors, the nascent hemp market still experienced overproduction. Growers who didn’t sell their crops prior to planting or who had processor contracts fall through ended up trying to unload their hemp harvest in fire sales at the end of the season or processed it enough to store through the winter to sell later, hoping for higher prices.

That brings us to the 2020 season. Because of regulatory uncertainty, a vast oversupply in 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic, licensed hemp acreage decreased year-over-year for the first time since the 2014 Farm Bill established a national hemp pilot program.

As a result of reduced production, the list of the top 10 U.S. states looks a bit different than last year, with five new states making their debut. But there are also more states producing hemp in 2020 than ever before.

Hemp Industry Daily contacted each state’s agriculture department to find out how many indoor and outdoor acres, growers and processors were licensed as we headed into the 2020 planting season. The top 10 hemp states by acreage licensed this year include, in ranked order:

  1. Colorado
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Kentucky
  5. New York
  6. Oregon
  7. Illinois
  8. North Carolina
  9. Florida
  10. Michigan

Some states’ numbers have evolved and fluctuated since our initial data collection because of ongoing licensing or later registration dates. And of course, licensed acreage does not reflect actual planted acreage or the number of acres that will be harvested at the end of the season.

Hemp Industry Daily‘s new report, “2020 US Hemp Harvest Outlook: Top Hemp-Producing States,” provides a snapshot of how growers started the 2020 crop year and a starting point for the what the 2020 harvest could bring.

You’ll also find insights on the national licensed acreage for 2020, plus each state’s:

  • Rules and regulations dictating hemp production.
  • Cultivation snapshot.
  • Market outlook.
  • Grower profiles.

This report enlisted help from the Hemp Industries Association to get feedback directly from their grower members in each of the top 10 states on how the 2020 season is going so far and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their businesses.

Please let us know how closely their experiences compare to yours—and how the 2020 outlook matches the landscape in your state.

A free copy of the report can be downloaded here.

The hemp industry has seen its share of struggles and growing pains over the past year, but it’s also witnessed a year full of changes and forward progress.

UK: Home Office revokes hemp growing license to grower

Hempen, a UK company producing hemp, has had its cultivation license revoked, resulting in the company being forced to destroy their crop. “We have had our license to grow hemp revoked,” the team with the company explains. “This is an unexpected piece of news, that has understandably sent ripples of shock and sadness throughout our lovely community. It also means that, to stay on the right side of the law (as we always want to do – our livelihoods are built on growing hemp and we rely on the support of the industry and officials), we have to destroy our beautiful hemp plants in the field.”

Home Office guidance in November 2018 had made clear that British Farmers would not be allowed to harvest the lucrative flowers for CBD oil and accordingly their licence applications were just to grow seed and stalk.

“Hempen is now seeking legal advice to appeal the decision, which has left the co-operative with no other option than to destroy the crop in the next 24 hours. Hempen has been clear in the statements submitted each year to the Home Office around how the plant was to be used. The Home Office raised no issues with the intended use of the plant over the course of the three-year license, and so to have the full license revoked mid season has come as an emotional and financial shock.”

“This highly punitive decision puts UK hemp farmers at a disadvantage, where the most valuable part of the crop, which is used to extract CBD globally (except in the UK) is rendered worthless.”

Hempen co-founder Patrick Gillett said: “In challenging economic times for British farmers, hemp is offering green shoots of hope as a rare crop that can pay for itself without subsidy. Instead of capitalising on the booming CBD industry, the Home Office’s bureaucracy is leading British farmers to destroy their own crops and millions of pounds’ worth of CBD flowers are being left to rot in the fields.” He added: “The government should move the responsibility of regulating farmers over to DEFRA and legislate to stop our CBD spending being sent abroad and be used to secure the future of British farming.”

Hempen, a UK company producing hemp, has had its cultivation license revoked, resulting in the company being forced to destroy their crop. "We have had our license to grow hemp revoked," the… ]]>