By Noah Chen
While the CBD industry gets a lot of attention with flashy products like soothing artisanal oil and relaxing gummies, the industrial hemp industry has been growing steadily behind the scenes. The fact is, the market for growing hemp for seed and fiber has never been better.
Growing industrial hemp isn’t like growing hemp for CBD. It’s true that CBD is lucrative to produce, but it is also much harder and carries far more risk. Hemp grown for seed and fiber is easier to maintain and industry demand for it is increasing.
If you’re thinking about setting some acres aside for a hemp farm, consider going industrial. It may be the best crop you’re not yet growing.
Hemp is easy to grow
Good news: Hemp is pretty easy to grow. Of course, it still takes work, but all things considered, it could be much harder.
According to the National Hemp Association, hemp is naturally pest resistant and requires few pesticides. It also requires little water compared to other crops like soybeans. It can even help replenish depleted soil.
If growing hemp, in general, is easy, growing industrial hemp is even easier. Industrial hemp gets to pollinate. In fact, it’s encouraged. When growing hemp for CBD, farmers have to be vigilant and cull the males else they can spoil the entire crop. In contrast, industrial hemp farmers like the seeds pollination bring. They are full of protein and are in high demand by healthy eaters around the world.
It’s legal and you can avoid hot hemp
While hemp is legal to grow in the United States, marijuana is not. Although they are technically the same plant, hemp is legal as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC. If hemp contains more than the legal amount, it’s considered “hot.”
When growing hemp for CBD, the same processes that increase CBD in the flower also increases THC. It’s not uncommon for CBD farmers to end up destroying their crops because they test above the legal THC limit.
Industrial hemp farmers have little to worry about in this department. The pollinating of the plant keeps the THC and CBD levels fairly low. Also, the genetics of industrial hemp plants were never bred for high levels of cannabinoids to begin with.
All in all, growing industrial hemp is safer, legally speaking, than growing CBD hemp.
Demand for industrial hemp is increasing
Many analysts watching the industrial hemp industry agree it has been maturing since 2018 and should continue to move for the next 5-8 years. Demand for fiber is stronger than ever, and seed demand is up as well.
Fiber has frequently been the reason hemp was grown throughout history. This year is no different. The most common uses for hemp fiber outside of the clothing industry is making durable car parts and building materials for green homes.
It was also recently reported that the US military was looking at incorporating hemp fiber into their uniforms. If this happens, demand for hemp fiber is sure to increase at an even faster rate.
The US Army will then follow in the footsteps of major clothing companies like Levi Strauss who have recently seen success marketing soft “Cottonized Hemp” clothing. This new treatment of hemp bucks the trend that hemp fabric feels rough.
Industrial hemp has federal fans
The growth of the industrial hemp industry is also supported by the US government. They’re slowly but surely loosening restrictions on hemp farmers while increasing hemp research.
Just last year, the National Industrial Hemp Council earned a grant to study industrial hemp markets overseas and integrate with them.
While the Biden administration hasn’t mentioned hemp yet, their announced climate agenda has some analysts optimistic. They feel hemp will find favor as a method of reducing carbon emissions and creating green building materials.
The Future of industrial hemp is exciting and lucrative
With the recent federal actions and industry growth taken into account, there hasn’t been a better time to get into the industrial hemp game.
To learn more about growing industrial hemp, check out the resources available to farmers from Arbor Vita8. As a seed-to-sale processor, we also offer an array of services. We’ll get you through the entire process of growing hemp and selling it, no matter the byproduct you’re making. Contact us today to learn more.