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What Happens When You Use Hemp in Animal Feed

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It’s not the best time to be a US farmer right now. Price volatility due to overproduction coupled with the Trump trade war is making it very hard for farmers to make money through traditional crops. As a result, many are actually looking for easier alternatives and hemp seems to be a viable choice. Hemp has long been a forbidden crop in the US. Its association with marijuana caused its production to remain illegal for the best part of a century. But Congress lifted the ban in 2018. This opened the door for farmers to diversify their crop with the hope of leveraging on the growing demand for CBD oil to make extra money in these uncertain times.

Recent surveys have in fact shown that a majority of farmers who have considered the idea of adding hemp to their production line are doing so because of the income and nothing else. But in the middle of this craze, there’s one emerging trend that’s worth noting. Livestock producers are expected to play the most crucial part in the success or failure of hemp production around the country. Hemp has many benefits as livestock feedstuff. There are states already funding research to determine the safety of hemp as livestock feed. The first study of this nature was initiated in the state of Colorado about two years ago. Ever since, an additional 40 states have formed technical research teams for the same purpose.

But it’s very clear that hemp could provide a lot of benefits to livestock. For instance, hemp seeds contain very high levels of desired fatty acids including Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 all of which are very vital in the health of cattle. The seeds do also have very high levels of amino acids.  The high fiber content can help with the digestive systems of livestock. Additionally, the seeds can deliver a wide range of important minerals such as zinc, copper, boron, manganese etc.

Growing hemp has been encouraged even though it has a lot of striking similarities with marijuana. This is because it has a low level of THC which means that it’s very unlikely that people will get high using it. Despite this, there are still a lot of unfounded attitudes that surround the growing of hemp. Some farmers consider the idea inappropriate due to their beliefs. But it seems a majority are actually open to the idea. A recent survey published online found that at least 43% of the farmers interviewed were ready to grow hemp. 30% said they couldn’t do it while 27% weren’t sure.

The potential for additional revenue from agriculture seems to be the main driver of this increased positive perception about growing hemp. But even then, it’s very hard to ignore the positive medicinal uses that hemp could potentially have on humans too. Many states in the US are already crafting localized legislation to unleash the hemp industry and farmers should be looking forward to the income potential that the crop brings.

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