According to a report published by Vote Hemp, an advocacy group, the land area on which farmers in the U.S. have been licensed to grow industrial hemp has more than quadrupled in 2019.
Previously, farmers could only grow hemp on a limited amount of land under the stipulations of the 2014 Farm Bill which only legalized hemp cultivation for research purposes. However, the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door to the commercial cultivation of hemp on condition that the farmers adhere to the relevant state laws.
The report by Vote Hemp indicates that so far, farmers have obtained licenses to grow hemp on a total of 511,442 acres of land. In contrast, only 78,176 acres were grown in 2018 while the figure for 2017 was a paltry 25,713 acres. The figure for 2016 is 9,770 acres according to the data collected by the group.
Looking at the figures for this year and those of last year alone, Vote Hemp shows that the hemp acreage has increased by 455 percent.
However, the group is quick to point out that they don’t expect all the land included in the licensing documents to be actually cultivated since the reality has always been that less land ends up being used to grow the crop for which a license has been obtained.
Consequently, the advocacy group has pledged to update its figures at the end of the cultivation season in order to get an accurate picture of the land area used for hemp growing this year.
Vote Hemp went ahead to give projections about how much land they think will be put to actual use growing industrial hemp from the number of acres for which licenses were secured. The group thinks that about 230,000 acres will be cultivated and between 115,000 and 138,000 acres of that will reach harvest time.
This year, thirteen states across the country have enacted hemp laws in response to the federal legalization of hemp. So far, only South Dakota, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Idaho have not yet permitted the commercial cultivation of the crop.
The USDA is expected to release its hemp rules soon and start approving state hemp programs thereafter.
Other notable happenings related to the industry include the EPA’s announcement that they are welcoming public comment on ten hemp pesticide applications, the federal agency in charge of credit unions stated that credit unions can serve hemp businesses without any fear, and the USDA stated that hemp farmers are now eligible for federal crop protection insurance.
Everything seems to be looking up for the hemp industry and experts believe entities like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOAD) are confident that the future of the industry is bright.
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