USDA Takes Steps to ‘Get to Know’ Hemp Farmers

It’s always been an awkward relationship — the government and hemp farmers. First, there’s all the issues around hemp being the same plant as marijuana to overcome. Then, there’s the stigma of hemp itself. Will it get you high or won’t it? (It won’t!) Then, there’s the battle of what’s legal and what isn’t.

Like I said, it’s a tough relationship.

Fortunately, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying to improve things by really getting to know hemp farmers in the country. As a result, a survey will go out to 20,000 hemp farmers through the agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Hopefully, this will make a positive difference all around.

The purpose

In addition to getting to know hemp farmers better, the purpose of this survey is to really shed light on the industry as a whole. The idea is to conduct this survey annually to not only help the USDA keep their finger on the pulse of the hemp industry, but also to track national and state-wide estimates of the hemp planted and produced each year.

The information gleaned through this survey could ultimately influence the government, but also hemp processors and other key stakeholders within the industry.

Although the survey received approval from The White House earlier this year, notices and reminders will begin going out October 1 to encourage farmers to participate.

The questions

Questions in the survey will center around a few key topics, including:

  • Outdoor hemp production
  • Acreage for operations
  • Primary and secondary uses for the crop
  • Prices producers can bring in

They’ll also cover a few specific types of hemp preparation:

  • Smokable hemp
  • Hemp extracts
  • Grain suitable for human consumption
  • Fiber
  • Seeds

These are areas where the USDA itself is most interested in learning more.

Where the hemp is grown will help determine the set of questions asked to each farmer. Those producing hemp outdoors will respond to questions in five categories — flower, grain, fiber, seed, and other. Those growing indoors, or within a greenhouse, will have four categories with questions — flower, clones or transplants, seed, and other.

Other areas where the USDA is collecting information revolve around whether farmers are hand-trimming their hemp crops, where farmers get seeds, seedlings, or clones to start a crop, and what, if anything, they plan to extract from the plants. There’s also interest around yields from crops already harvested.

The results

Bringing in annual results of this nature could positively influence the future of hemp. The results will help assist a variety of groups, including regulatory agencies, producers, state governments, processors, and other entities that are essential when setting benchmarks in areas like hemp average and production.

Future policy creators and key players in hemp can use this information to their advantage.

A plan with positive impact

News like this is always beneficial for those already in the hemp game. It shows government agencies trying to work with us rather than against us. Collecting information like this is a positive step, and results could even help Arbor Vita8 become a better processor. Since we offer services at every stage of the hemp process, we spend a lot of time working with both farmers and manufacturers. Information like this will help ensure our facilities can handle the incoming bulk from our partner farmers and that we’re extracting the compounds that are most in demand.

To learn more about our wide array of services and resources at Arbor Vita8, contact us today.

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