Officially submitting your application to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) to become a hemp farmer means careful preparation. Here’s what you need to do beforehand to make sure the process goes smoothly.
Before completing an application with the ADAI
Even before you begin the application process with the ADAI, you need to have your farm in order to make the transition to hemp. Read through the USDA Hemp Regulations and the ADAI Application Packet. Make sure you understand everything before moving forward.
After reading through all the documentation, prepare your property for the transition.
- Collect all lease and rental agreement documents.
- Clear your property so it’s ready for planting if you’re working outdoors. This means collecting soil samples and checking nutrients, heavy metal content and the presence of pesticides in your soil. Send samples to independent labs.
- Build your greenhouse or indoor growing structure and ready it for planting if working indoors. Make sure you’ve properly budgeted for this expense and thought about how you’ll heat/cool the structure.
- Register your company if you haven’t already and have all documentation available. This is required paperwork for your hemp grower license.
You also have to apply for the The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to conduct a criminal background check once your application is submitted. This typically happens close to the annual registration date.
Think through the process of being a hemp farmer
This is also an important step before you officially submit your application to make the transition to farming hemp. There are a lot of details involved with successful hemp growing, and you need to think through the entire process from planting to processing.
The very first thing you need to do is understand your crop. Take the time to educate yourself on what a hemp plant is, its parts and how it’s processed. Think through why you want to work with this crop and whether it’s a long-term or short-term plan for your land. Research the general costs of getting started as a hemp farmer and the cost of maintenance. Make sure you’ve got a strong budget in place that won’t break the bank. Factor in costs for:
- Application and license fees
- City/county business license
- Seeds or propagules
- Plasticulture, if using
- Heating and cooling
- ADAI samplings during harvest
Make sure you’re aware of what hemp varieties are available to you and what genetics work best for our land to ensure you get a good crop from the start.
Make sure you have a strategy in place for irrigating your hemp plants. If you need to have a well dug, that should happen prior to submitting your application. If you’re using city or county water, you need a strategy to filter it for use.
Once the plants are ready to harvest, you need to have plans in place for processing and purchasing. Make sure you’ve established working relationships with a processor and a buyer. If you need a separate vendor to dry the hemp, if your processor doesn’t offer that service, secure them early on as well. Schedules fill up and capacities get reached quickly. You don’t want to miss your window to get your crop out the door. That being said, make sure you have a plan in place should you need to hold onto your harvested hemp material for an extended period of time. This should be a secure location that won’t harm the quality of your crop.
Prepare for inevitabilities
Unfortunately, some element of theft appears on most insurance claims related to the cannabis industry. Although working solely with hemp, you want to make sure you have the full range of insurance to protect you and your product. Make sure you have insurance that covers weather-related production loss, a policy that covers your equipment and a crime insurance policy to stay fully protected.
Be really ready to grow hemp
By taking a careful read through all the licensing documentation and thinking through every last detail of how you’ll manage your farm, you can successfully make the switch to hemp. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Arbor Vita 8. Our experienced team can advise you on seeds to extraction and everything in between. Consider becoming a partner farmer and work directly with us for an even higher level of support. We’re here to help you succeed.