Bryan Kurz, a Missouri farmer, didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he grew small amounts of hemp for research last year under the state’s hemp pilot program. Now, he receives several calls a day from farmers eager to join the hemp bandwagon. “I can’t even tell you how many people I talk to each day,” he says. “I bet I get five calls a day minimum.”
There has been significant interest in hemp across the country, especially after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp. Under the legislation, farmers could grow and sell hemp under state and tribal programs, provided it contained less than 0.3% THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the chemical that gives marijuana its infamous psychoactive high.
The crop is insanely versatile, and according to a 2017 report by Congressional researchers, it can be turned into more than 25,000 products in nine industries including textiles, furniture manufacturing, construction materials and paper.
On top of that, it produces over 100 cannabinoids, chemicals unique to the cannabis plant, such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC, cannabidiol isn’t psychoactive, but it has been touted for its medicinal properties. According to anecdotal evidence, it is effective against a variety of ailments ranging from anxiety and chronic pain to high blood pressure. Experts estimate the market for CBD will be worth $20 billion by 2024.
Richard Oswald, Director of the Missouri Farmers Union says any new crop that can help farmers diversify is a good thing.
Kurtz and his wife learned about hemp 2 years ago at a farmers’ association meeting, and he was immediately fascinated by the versatile cash crop. He says that most of the calls he has fielded have been from farmers who grow crops organically and farmers with smaller family farms.
“It’s not that the bigger farms aren’t interested, but they say ‘call me when it’s more developed.’ The younger and smaller farmers, they’re penny-pinching, they’re looking at what is working and what isn’t, they’re going to be the first to jump in it because they see the opportunity.”
He does caution farmers against going in without due diligence, advising them to enter the industry at a slower pace and lock-in buyers before planting any seeds. “My recommendation is basically control your risk by already having the product, find a buyer and work backwards from there. You want the product to be sold before it is ever planted,” he says.
According to hemp experts, the advice to get a buyer before planting any hemp seed in the ground is sound advice that even companies like No Borders Inc. (OTC: NBDR) would gladly give any prospective farmer.
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