The hemp industry is on the rise in the United States these days, especially in the state of Oregon, where there are currently 212 handlers and 584 growers registered under the Industrial Hemp Program of the state. When this started back in 2016, there were only 53 handlers registered and 70 growers.
Now that that the 2018 Farm Bill has been signed, which legalized hemp production at the federal level and gave way for farmers to acquire insurance and grants, growers are expecting an increased demand for hemp in the coming months. This demand would require farmers to grow hemp at a much bigger scale.
Hemp Farming in Oregon
Oregon is a perfect example of how hemp production can be a great potential. Hemp production in the state was legalized in 2015 as part of a pilot project that the previous Farm Bill authored. Since then, there has been an increasing number of growers and the hemp acreage has grown to a whopping 11,000 acres! With the approval of the 2018 Farm Bill, this figure is set to grow incredibly.
The hemp farmers of Oregon are very excited about the prospects and many are looking forward to growing the crop on a much bigger scale. Nowadays, most growers are doing it only in 20, 30, 40, or 50-acre plots and there are only a few farmers who are growing the crop in 100 and 200-acre plots.
Growing Hemp at a Scale
There are certain challenges that prevent farmers from growing hemp at a large scale. It’s because of these challenges that the Hemp AG Solutions was formed. Developed by brothers Justin and Jake Bordessa who are hemp growers from Oregon, the technology aims to provide farming services that are tailored to the needs of the growing hemp industry.
Traditionally, hemp is harvested by hand. As such, the process could take weeks, especially on larger fields. After the harvest, the crop must be dried immediately in order to ensure quality. Because of the rigorous process involved, farmers are hesitant to grow at a large scale as this could potentially lead to a great loss.
Hemp AG Solutions
Hemp AG Solutions is a technology that combines manual and mechanical harvesting in order to efficiently manage large acreage of crops. This technology was able to harvest 280 acres of hemp crops across 9 farms this year in the Southern Oregon area, as well as 2.5 acres in the company’s own farm, where they have tested the plant genetics and agricultural practices.
If hemp farmers would like to grow hundreds of acres of hemp crop on their own, it would require an upfront investment of around $750,000. However, with the Hemp Ag Solutions, the cost can be greatly reduced. The company has also worked with the American Hemp Seed Genetics that’s based in Salem, in order to produce perfect strains of hemp that are highly suitable to hemp’s environment and farming practices. Of the 33,000 seed starters, they have since lowered it down to the four best crops and have started growing clones recently.