Les rêves américains de chanvre sont écrasés par ces 5 défis

Les rêves américains de chanvre sont écrasés par ces 5 défis

octobre 30, 2019 0 Par admin


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Hemp...
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Struggling American farmers felt like they had just received a stay of execution last year when the word came down the pike that industrial hemp production was on its way to becoming legal again in the United States.

It meant they would no longer have to nickel and dime themselves to death by exclusively dedicating acreage to traditional crops like corn and wheat, and they might even be able to stay in the agricultural game long term without the risk of being put out to pasture.

For decades, cannabis advocates have preached that industrial hemp could be a saving grace for the national economy. Of course, this salvation was (and still is) contingent on whether the nation is willing to embrace hemp as a sustainable alternative to materials like plastic, cotton and fossil fuels. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – a federal lawmaker who has fought against the legalization of cannabis since the early 1980s — saw the potential of hemp first hand while touring various facilities involved with a pilot program in his home state of Kentucky.

Noticing just how hemp could benefit the average farmer and the consumer, as well, is just one of the reasons McConnell took charge of the issue on Capitol Hill last year. He was hellbent on ensuring that industrial hemp would become part of the farming community’s plow and pick repertoire once more. 

And his plan was a success. 

Industrial hemp production is now legal at the national level under the 2018 Farm Bill, and more jurisdictions are getting involved. As it stands, 34 states have made it legal for farmers to grow hemp since President Trump signed this legislation into law. So, well, you know, this means the country is rocking and rolling in ways that it never would have had hemp continued to be held down by prohibition, right?

Well, not exactly.

Although the American hemp market is predicted to reach more than $26 billion within the next six years, farmers are not living the high life just yet. In fact, many complain that the hemp business is not all that it is cracked up to be. There are still too many uncertainties and challenges that the agricultural sect must face before this crop takes off in the way that advocates have long predicted. The following are the most common problems hemp farmers have been dealing with since America’s latest cash crop was made legal. One thing is sure, only the strong (or at least those with strong stomachs) are going to survive.

Poor First Year Yields Make It Difficult For Farmers To Be Profitable

In the heartland, which some farmers have called a « sweet spot » for growing hemp, industrial hemp production has taken it on the chin. First-year yields have been less than impressive, some reports show, thanks to delayed planting schedules and heavy rains. It has created a situation where the initial harvest is a measly looking bunch, to say the least. And that could take a toll on profits.

« The plants didn’t get as tall, » Indiana farmer Mark Boyer told the South Bend Tribune. « They never canopied and that created weed problems. » 

In spite of reports showing that industrial hemp production may very well bring between $40,000 to $50,000 per acre — in contrast, corn brings right around $1,000 per acre — hemp farmers in the armpit of the country say they sincerely doubt the first hemp harvest will reach profitability.

Growing Hemp Is More Labor Intensive Than Traditional Crops

Hemp production might eventually bring big money to the agricultural community, but they are going to have to work for it – and pretty damn hard, too. Growing hemp is a laborious affair, especially since many farmers do not presently have the proper equipment to efficiently see the process through from seed to harvest. 

Although some hemp croppers say they have been able to use modern machinery to get the job done, others have had to invest tens of thousands of dollars in new equipment and retrofits. And because certain types of hemp plants must be put in the ground as seedlings, a lot of the work that goes into producing it must be done by hand. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it. 

And now for a not so fun fact about the heydays of American hemp farming: Back when hemp was the original Rockstar crop in the U.S., slaves were the ones working in hemp fields simply because no one, especially white men, wanted anything to do with it.

Interestingly, a book entitled “A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky” indicates that slavery may have never flourished in the Bluegrass State if not for hemp. Let’s hope things go differently this time around. 

Some Of The Hemp Seed Being Sold For CBD-Rich Plants Is A Rip Off

There is evidently a shortage of hemp seed that can be used to produce high-CBD yields. A lot of the farmers who have jumped into the hemp business are focused on capitalizing on the CBD craze. 

But not just any old hemp will do for this purpose. 

Farmers interested in producing plants to sell to CBD processors require all female plants. A report from the Philadelphia Inquirer indicates that many growers have been getting ripped off because some of the hemp seeds they have purchased this year turned out to be male. These plants are utterly worthless to those farmers in it for all that CBD money expected to start lining their bank accounts soon. Analysts predict that the CBD market from industrial hemp could be worth $22 Billion by 2023.

Thieves Are Stealing Hemp Plants Thinking It Is Marijuana

Because hemp and marijuana have a similar appearance and odor, thieves have been sneaking into hemp fields at night and stealing crops with rabid enthusiasm. Some farmers in New York complain that they have lost beaucoup bucks because pot-seeking pirates keep showing up night after night. 

Thieves are apparently targeting hemp plants because they have mistaken them for marijuana. It’s a problem that is only getting worse, some farmers say. 

« It started out with taking 20 plants and escalated to 100 plants. It was just once a week, and now it’s escalated to every day, » New York farmer Dale Weed told the television station WHAM. « To them, it’s worthless. You can smoke a whole telephone pole of this without having any effect. » 

And while theft must be factored into any business plan, those cultivators that got into hemp production to keep their farms from being sucked into the great oblivion are concerned that such a significant loss right out of the gate could cripple them before they even get started.

This problem is forcing them to either invest in increased security or assemble an independent brigade to keep a constant lookout. 

« My family has spent quite a few nights here watching the property. I’ve spent nights here where I’m sleep deprived. It’s a big problem for us, » Weed said. 

Too Much Hemp Being Produced And No New Markets For Farmers To Unload It

Farmers were told early on that they would be raking in the big bucks if they got into hemp production. So, they did. Maybe even all of them. A new report shows that 285,000 acres of hemp were grown this year in the U.S. – a 72 percent increase from 2018. But now that the first harvest is considered mostly a wrap, many farmers are struggling to find a market where they can sell it. 

« It’s not like corn or wheat or other commodities, where you just go down to the local grain elevator, » Matt Cyrus, the president of the Deschutes County (Oregon) Farm Bureau, told the Philadelphia Inquirer

Right now, the bulk of the hemp market is overseas, where industrial hemp production has been legal for some time. This means farmers must find a way to compete with already established exchanges.

And before that shakes out or new markets begin to emerge here in the U.S., farmers must have the proper facilities to store this year’s hemp crop, or it will all go to waste. One Tennessee farmer says it could be Spring before he seeks out a buyer. Because as long as the market is flooded with hemp and no one is buying it, the crop doesn’t have much value at this juncture.  

Hemp farmers are also experiencing issues with banking, crop insurance and a lack of access to the appropriate herbicides and pesticides. In other words, it’s definitely going to take some time before hemp makes a comeback in the United States. It is even possible, considering just how long this plant has been out of circulation, it may never rise again.

We will just have to wait and see. 

« >

Hemp...

Hemp grows on a farm in southwestern Kentucky on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Photo By Bill … [ ] Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Struggling American farmers felt like they had just received a stay of execution last year when the word came down the pike that industrial hemp production was on its way to becoming legal again in the United States.

It meant they would no longer have to nickel and dime themselves to death by exclusively dedicating acreage to traditional crops like corn and wheat, and they might even be able to stay in the agricultural game long term without the risk of being put out to pasture.

For decades, cannabis advocates have preached that industrial hemp could be a saving grace for the national economy. Of course, this salvation was (and still is) contingent on whether the nation is willing to embrace hemp as a sustainable alternative to materials like plastic, cotton and fossil fuels. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – a federal lawmaker who has fought against the legalization of cannabis since the early 1980s — saw the potential of hemp first hand while touring various facilities involved with a pilot program in his home state of Kentucky.

Noticing just how hemp could benefit the average farmer and the consumer, as well, is just one of the reasons McConnell took charge of the issue on Capitol Hill last year. He was hellbent on ensuring that industrial hemp would become part of the farming community’s plow and pick repertoire once more. 

And his plan was a success. 

Industrial hemp production is now legal at the national level under the 2018 Farm Bill, and more jurisdictions are getting involved. As it stands, 34 states have made it legal for farmers to grow hemp since President Trump signed this legislation into law. So, well, you know, this means the country is rocking and rolling in ways that it never would have had hemp continued to be held down by prohibition, right?

Well, not exactly.

Although the American hemp market is predicted to reach more than $26 billion within the next six years, farmers are not living the high life just yet. In fact, many complain that the hemp business is not all that it is cracked up to be. There are still too many uncertainties and challenges that the agricultural sect must face before this crop takes off in the way that advocates have long predicted. The following are the most common problems hemp farmers have been dealing with since America’s latest cash crop was made legal. One thing is sure, only the strong (or at least those with strong stomachs) are going to survive.

Hemp farmers struggle to see profits from the first-year harvest.

Hemp farmers struggle to see profits from the first-year harvest.

Getty

Poor First Year Yields Make It Difficult For Farmers To Be Profitable

In the heartland, which some farmers have called a « sweet spot » for growing hemp, industrial hemp production has taken it on the chin. First-year yields have been less than impressive, some reports show, thanks to delayed planting schedules and heavy rains. It has created a situation where the initial harvest is a measly looking bunch, to say the least. And that could take a toll on profits.

« The plants didn’t get as tall, » Indiana farmer Mark Boyer told the South Bend Tribune. « They never canopied and that created weed problems. » 

In spite of reports showing that industrial hemp production may very well bring between $40,000 to $50,000 per acre — in contrast, corn brings right around $1,000 per acre — hemp farmers in the armpit of the country say they sincerely doubt the first hemp harvest will reach profitability.

Hemp farming must be done mostly by hand.

Hemp farming must be done mostly by hand.

Getty

Growing Hemp Is More Labor Intensive Than Traditional Crops

Hemp production might eventually bring big money to the agricultural community, but they are going to have to work for it – and pretty damn hard, too. Growing hemp is a laborious affair, especially since many farmers do not presently have the proper equipment to efficiently see the process through from seed to harvest. 

Although some hemp croppers say they have been able to use modern machinery to get the job done, others have had to invest tens of thousands of dollars in new equipment and retrofits. And because certain types of hemp plants must be put in the ground as seedlings, a lot of the work that goes into producing it must be done by hand. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it. 

And now for a not so fun fact about the heydays of American hemp farming: Back when hemp was the original Rockstar crop in the U.S., slaves were the ones working in hemp fields simply because no one, especially white men, wanted anything to do with it.

Interestingly, a book entitled “A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky” indicates that slavery may have never flourished in the Bluegrass State if not for hemp. Let’s hope things go differently this time around. 

Hemp farmers have been getting ripped off on seed.

Hemp farmers have been getting ripped off on seed.

Getty

Some Of The Hemp Seed Being Sold For CBD-Rich Plants Is A Rip Off

There is evidently a shortage of hemp seed that can be used to produce high-CBD yields. A lot of the farmers who have jumped into the hemp business are focused on capitalizing on the CBD craze. 

But not just any old hemp will do for this purpose. 

Farmers interested in producing plants to sell to CBD processors require all female plants. A report from the Philadelphia Inquirer indicates that many growers have been getting ripped off because some of the hemp seeds they have purchased this year turned out to be male. These plants are utterly worthless to those farmers in it for all that CBD money expected to start lining their bank accounts soon. Analysts predict that the CBD market from industrial hemp could be worth $22 Billion by 2023.

Thieves are stealing hemp plants thinking it's marijuana.

Thieves are stealing hemp plants thinking it’s marijuana.

Getty

Thieves Are Stealing Hemp Plants Thinking It Is Marijuana

Because hemp and marijuana have a similar appearance and odor, thieves have been sneaking into hemp fields at night and stealing crops with rabid enthusiasm. Some farmers in New York complain that they have lost beaucoup bucks because pot-seeking pirates keep showing up night after night. 

Thieves are apparently targeting hemp plants because they have mistaken them for marijuana. It’s a problem that is only getting worse, some farmers say. 

« It started out with taking 20 plants and escalated to 100 plants. It was just once a week, and now it’s escalated to every day, » New York farmer Dale Weed told the television station WHAM. « To them, it’s worthless. You can smoke a whole telephone pole of this without having any effect. » 

And while theft must be factored into any business plan, those cultivators that got into hemp production to keep their farms from being sucked into the great oblivion are concerned that such a significant loss right out of the gate could cripple them before they even get started.

This problem is forcing them to either invest in increased security or assemble an independent brigade to keep a constant lookout. 

« My family has spent quite a few nights here watching the property. I’ve spent nights here where I’m sleep deprived. It’s a big problem for us, » Weed said. 

Hemp farmers are struggling to find new markets.

Hemp farmers are struggling to find new markets.

Getty

Too Much Hemp Being Produced And No New Markets For Farmers To Unload It

Farmers were told early on that they would be raking in the big bucks if they got into hemp production. So, they did. Maybe even all of them. A new report shows that 285,000 acres of hemp were grown this year in the U.S. – a 72 percent increase from 2018. But now that the first harvest is considered mostly a wrap, many farmers are struggling to find a market where they can sell it. 

« It’s not like corn or wheat or other commodities, where you just go down to the local grain elevator, » Matt Cyrus, the president of the Deschutes County (Oregon) Farm Bureau, told the Philadelphia Inquirer

Right now, the bulk of the hemp market is overseas, where industrial hemp production has been legal for some time. This means farmers must find a way to compete with already established exchanges.

And before that shakes out or new markets begin to emerge here in the U.S., farmers must have the proper facilities to store this year’s hemp crop, or it will all go to waste. One Tennessee farmer says it could be Spring before he seeks out a buyer. Because as long as the market is flooded with hemp and no one is buying it, the crop doesn’t have much value at this juncture.  

Hemp farmers are also experiencing issues with banking, crop insurance and a lack of access to the appropriate herbicides and pesticides. In other words, it’s definitely going to take some time before hemp makes a comeback in the United States. It is even possible, considering just how long this plant has been out of circulation, it may never rise again.

We will just have to wait and see. 


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