Fear surrounding hemp farming in the U.S. reduces CBD supply

Published Aug 28, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Mirkob87

The United States of America might not be known to be 420-friendly but they have widely accepted the hemp market with open arms, and business was thriving during the first year of the Farm bill being enacted, but now that the reality of the system has settled in for those who have either tried growing hemp or are looking into the benefits that hemp farming can offer, things are slowing down a lot more than experts has initially predicted.

Yet again, a government has dropped the ball as far as support for the budding new industry, and things aren’t looking so good for new companies who were hoping to get in on the market. Some might assume that the significantly reduced CBD product sales numbers were due to a stymied interest that slowly waned over time as the excitement over the all-natural medicine wore off, but the reality is that it all comes down to the number of individuals who are no longer willing to take on hemp farming.

The promise of a better future

When the details of the Farm act were released to the public, the government made it sound like a certain win that would help to bolster the American economy in a similar way to what many had hoped would be possible with cannabis, and a lot of Americans were excited about this brand new shift. With CBD quickly becoming an accepted medication widely utilized by the public, it seemed at first like investing in the new industry with either cash or time and hard work would surely pay off in the long run.

The reality of hemp farming was painful last year

As soon as the act came into play, hemp farming and planning began right across America, as thousands of farmers right across the country did their best to stay ahead of the game. It was supposed to be a lucrative business, and though many assumed that it would have a few bumps along the way, most had no idea how oversaturated the market would quickly become with CBD products. Without buyers for harvest, there is no motivation to continue growing hemp, as many farmers found out firsthand the hard way, many of whom ultimately destroyed their products at the end of the year.

The occasional one was lucky enough to get contracts with the largest manufacturers of CBD products, but the rest spent the entire season looking for a buyer for the supposedly highly sought-after crop to no avail. Though we are unsure as to just how many were growing hemp last year, they gave up before this one began, experts believe that somewhere around 30% of crops were never sold, which provides a bleak perspective into what could be possible come harvest time this year.

This was enough to demotivate many who had already taken on debt and put tonnes of hard work into converting their farms to accommodate growing hemp plants and plenty to scare away those who were waiting to hear more about the newly legal crops. Unfortunately, that led to a reduction in hemp farming, and this year the United States sees massive shortages because of it.

Reduced supply of CBD

In total, a little more than 30% of licensed American acreage dedicated to hemp farming has disappeared completely along with 64% of indoor square footage, and now that demand has gone up exponentially, the market is seeing a serious shortage in raw product. This is spelling trouble for CBD companies who have millions of consumers who rely on them for their daily medication, as many are being forced to increase prices, as the cost of raw product surges through the roof.

What to expect from US hemp farming in the future

The CBD market is expected to reach impressive proportions of around $4.7 billion in sales, which is up by 14% more than last year, so anyone who is interested in hemp farming or is considering getting out of the game now might want to get on board with what’s to come. Though CBD market demand isn’t exactly growing by extravagant amounts each year, more companies are getting on board with the idea of other hemp products.

Things like hemp rope, hemp plastic, hemp concrete, and even hemp biofuel are expected to be hot items that should be more readily available to hit the market by next year and to make them those companies are going to need a substantial supply of industrial hemp. It might not be the immediate burst of hope that so many of us were hoping for, but it does mean that good things are coming for the US hemp industry.

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