Planted Hemp Acreage Drops

Lisa Rennie
Written by Lisa Rennie

Hemp crops across the US have dropped so far in 2020 compared to where levels were at last year.

A recent report from HempToday announced that 2020’s total planted outdoor hemp acreage in the US was approximately 200,000 acres. That’s a 30% decline from 2019’s approximate 580,000 acres.

As of late July, about 400,000 acres were licensed. Similar to 2019, about half of that total is estimated not to have been planted. This is a trend that is expected to continue in 2020.

At the same time, indoor home growing space plummeted approximately 64% to 1,450 acres, from 2,300 acres in 2019.

Hemp cultivation licenses also dipped this year. There have been 18,000 licenses recorded in 2020, down 8% from 2019’s 19,500. Such a decrease suggests that the majority of hemp farmers registered smaller sites.

Many hemp farmers who harvested in 2019 have exited the arena this year, while others have chosen to scale down operations. That said, many first-time hemp farmers are replacing those who’ve left the industry so far in 2020.

As has been the case with many other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the hemp industry. Whether it’s the result of supply chain disruptions, labor issues, workplace insecurities, or slowed research, the hemp industry has not been untouched by the pandemic.

Further, oversupply issues and a lack of federal regulation has also contributed to difficulties for hemp farmers and the industry as a whole. States have had to write their own rules to surrounding hemp and the products made from the plant, including CBD products. Shortly after the 2018 Farm Bill passed – which legalized cultivation of hemp – the FDA has not made any regulatory clarifications surrounding the legality of CBD products.

Investor interest in the cannabis sector in 2019 has also been a problem for the industry, which has caused significant financial troubles for many hemp businesses.

All of these factors are harming hemp farmers, who were supposed to have benefitted the most from hemp legalization.

Acreage for the plant throughout the nation more than tripled between 2018 and 2019. The hemp industry saw a big boom throughout those months, but it has slowed significantly since then.

Having said that, advocates of the industry still believe in the future of hemp, particularly as consumer demand continues to remain strong, particularly for hemp-based CBD products.

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Lisa Rennie

Lisa Rennie

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