Midwest Hemp Farmers Hoping For A Better Year In 2021 

 January 11, 2021

By  Stratis Hemp

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2020 was a tough year for everyone, but hemp growers in the Midwest faced many challenges they weren't prepared for. While most of those challenges can be chalked up to growing pains, the reality is, hemp is a hard crop to grow ... legally.

Most hemp grown in the Midwest is for cannabidiol (CBD), which is a very labor intensive crop. Federal regulations mandate that the hemp must test at or below 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, adding to the difficulty in successfully growing it. Crops testing above the legal limit must be destroyed.

About 13% of Iowa’s hemp crop came in above the legal limit. In Missouri, it was about 9%.

In addition to growing noncompliant hemp, farmers not only have to contend with the usual issues - weather, drought, pests, weeds, etc., but also have the added problems of a lack of industry standards for seed genetics and insufficient post-harvest processing capacity.

Last year in Illinois, 644 growers licenses were issued, but fewer than 200 processors were licensed according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This year that gap has narrowed slightly, with 800 growers licensed and 364 processors.

Despite all of the obstacles, most agree, hemp is here to stay.

“I think that within the next 5-10 years, hemp will be, in terms of the dollar amounts, one of the top three agricultural exports of the state of Illinois,” says David Lakeman with Illinois’ Department of Agriculture.

He has “bottomless faith” in the Illinois farmer, and along with hemp’s medical and industrial potential, he says its future is bright.

You can read more here.

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