Hemp is making a comeback in the United States in a major way. Favorable reform provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill paved the way for farmers in a number of states to take advantage of research and pilot programs. Since that time the U.S. hemp cultivation industry has grown exponentially, as demonstrated by statistics.
In 2016 U.S. farmers grew 9,770 acres of hemp. By 2017 that number increased to 25,713 acres of hemp. Some hemp opponents claimed at the time that the dramatic year-over-year increase was due to states just starting their programs and that growth would level off quickly. Time has proven those naysayers to be completely wrong.
Farmers in the United States grew an astonishing 78,176 acres of hemp in 2018 – more than triple the number of acres from the previous year. The 2018 Farm Bill included significant reforms specifically for hemp farmers.
Hemp industry observers have been waiting to see statistics for 2019’s licenses to see what impact the 2018 Farm Bill would have. According to a recently released report, the U.S. hemp industry is growing faster than ever. Per Vote Hemp:
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp cultivation in the U.S. has grown rapidly. The number of acres of hemp licensed across 34 states totaled 511,442 in 2019—more than quadruple the number of acres licensed from the previous year. State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 16,877 farmers and researchers, a 476% increase over 2018.
The hemp plant would have likely been a popular crop for U.S. farmers to cultivate regardless of CBD because of the hemp plant’s versatility. However, the explosion in CBD’s popularity in recent years among consumers has definitely contributed to the exponential growth of hemp cultivation in the United States.
It’s worth noting that just because acreage is licensed to cultivate hemp by a state’s Agriculture Department does not mean that the acreage will successfully produce a harvest and make it to the marketplace. A number of factors could prevent the harvest from occurring.
However, no one can deny that the hemp industry in the United States is experiencing significant growth and that there’s no end to that growth in sight currently. It will be very interesting to see what acreage numbers look like a year from now, five years from now, and beyond.
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