Now that the 2018 Farm Bill is approved, which allows for the cultivation and distribution of industrial hemp, more and more people are showing interest in growing their own hemp crops. Before, hemp was a crop that people didn’t usually think about growing simply because of its connection to marijuana, its closest cousin. But now that people are aware of the wonderful qualities as well as the amazing potential that comes with this plant, more and more farmers are considering cultivating it.
If you’re one of them, here’s everything that you need to know.
Why Grow Hemp?
Compared to corn and other crops, hemp can grow more vigorously yet it requires fewer pesticides, water, fertilizer, and herbicides, making it one of the most sustainable crops to cultivate. Hemp has more than 25,000 uses and it’s a great eco-friendly alternative to other crops for industrial production. The massive quantities of biomass hemp can be a potential raw material for biofuel production, livestock feed, textiles, and paper. The seeds and oil that are produced from the hemp biomass are also used in numerous ways, both for industrial and culinary purposes. In fact, it’s possible to produce alternative building materials out of hemp such as hempcrete.
The production of CBD oil is the most lucrative business that a lot of farmers are trying to get their hands on. CBD oil basically refers to the medicinal compound found on the cannabis plant and doesn’t contain any THC and is therefore legal to use in all states.
Ideal Growing Conditions for the Crop
As an annual plant, hemp can grow well in most areas in the country, except in extreme desert conditions as well as in the high mountain areas of the country.
It can thrive well in warm weather and can grow best in soils that are rich in organic matter. The seeds of hemp can be directly sown and there’s no longer a need to grow in pots to be transplanted in the future. Hemp seeds must be planted after the average date of the last frost. Once the plants have established, they will be fairly drought tolerant although the seedlings would require irrigation on the first weeks, especially if the soil is dry.
Organic Hemp Cultivation
Hemp is a great crop to grow for organic farmers since it requires minimal maintenance. It’s also fairly resistant to diseases and pests and can grow fast and tall. The crop also has the ability to kill the weeds, thus, it minimizes the need for hand cultivation, which is a major requirement for most organic crops.
As of now, the USDA won’t certify marijuana as an organic plant in the US where it can be grown legally. However, they have made an exemption for hemp. Thus, there’s a growing demand for organic hemp seeds, which is a popular health food in the country.
The hemp market is expected to become big in the coming years now that the 2018 Farm Bill has been approved. So if you’re thinking of growing hemp, then you’re certainly making the right business decision.