New data released this month shows that hemp is poised to become a major crop in U.S. agriculture, while warning that current limitations on supply chain infrastructure threaten to slow early growth of the industry.
In a report created by economists Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics and Clarissa Allen released on November 12, hemp shows the potential to become the nation’s third most valuable crop, surpassed only by corn and soy.
“This, in itself, shows not only the value of the industry, but the significance of the legalization of hemp,” Whitney said in a press release.
The findings of the report, “The Field of Dreams:An Economic Survey of the United States Hemp Cultivation Industry,” are based on a survey sent to nearly 10,000 individual hemp cultivators in 18 states and an analysis of market data.
“The intent is to outline what issues are associated with the deployment of the hemp industry in 2019, how to address them from a policy and business perspective and to predict the direction of the industry as it matures in the years to come,” Whitney said.
The report notes that within months of the legalization of hemp through the 2018 Farm Bill, new firms and millions of dollars in investment entered the new marketplace. Already, agriculture departments in 34 states have issued a total of nearly 20,000 licenses to grow hemp, representing more than 450,000 acres of farmland.