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Hemp Farming 101: Benefits and Drawbacks

Want to find out more about the hottest diversification trend? Discover the benefits and drawbacks of hemp farming, to see if it could be your next business venture.

With the legalisation of hemp growth over recent decades, things are changing rapidly. Farms that were ahead of the game, and have been growing hemp for years, have noticed a surge in demand and profit! With these developments, other farmers are taking the leap, and jumping straight into the business.

At the Farm Business Innovation Show, we want to help you find fantastic new ideas for land diversification, to find an alternative that works for YOU. With this in mind, our FREE tickets could be the next step for you to boost profits from your land, and perhaps hemp farming will be your next step to these higher profits.

A cannabis plant could be the next step towards land diversification

An Introduction to Hemp

The word “hemp” usually brings forth the image of a group of college students, sat in their university dorms, passing a bong around a circle. In this, you’d be very wrong. So, what can you expect from the growth of hemp in the farming industry?

Hemp and marijuna are both members of the cannabis family. The difference between the two is their levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the element in the plant that gets you high (discover more about THC here).

CBD is the main compound of hemp used across the world, in a number of everyday products. Due to the low THC in CBD, which usually equates to around 0.2 percent, it’s non-psychoactive, so won’t get you high. This means it can be used commercially, in numerous products, including medicines, shampoos, and essential oils.

Benefits of Hemp Farming

Now we know a little more about the ins-and-outs of cannabis, in the form of hemp, how can hemp farming help YOU boost your land profits?

Grows Well

Hemp growth actually yields fantastic crop numbers, compared to the average corn crop. What’s more, these large quantities of hemp require a lot less maintenance. In fact, less water, and fewer pesticides, fertilisers, and herbicides are needed to grow it.

Market is Wide

Hemp farming has around 25,000 known uses, making it an extremely versatile crop for diversifying into! This comes down to the fact that hemp produces a number of different materials, including leaves, and the tougher stalks.

Oftentimes, the softer leaves are utilised within the food industry, for example in tea and salads, but the tougher elements of the plant can be used to feed livestock and for textiles. Some other fantastic examples of hemp products include paper, biofuel production, oils, culinary needs, industrial needs, and so many more. We’ve even seen hemp being used for building materials!

In general, the list of products that can be extracted from the humble hemp plant really are endless. This means that the market for hemp farming is extremely wide - there’ll be no shortage of need any time soon.

Easy Cultivation

Hemp can be grown in a variety of ways, and many are perennial types, so remain part of the landscape all year around. So, depending on the type of land you have, it shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt. What’s more, hemp doesn’t require good quality soil, so little to no extra costs can be expected.

Return is High

These days, and especially with Brexit on the horizon, the world of farming is an uncertain business. Due to this, numerous farmers and landowners are on the hunt for new ways to make ends meet.

With the emerging popularity of hemp throughout hundreds of different industries, this could be a new pathway for many struggling farmers out there. In fact, New Frontier Data market research has predicted that sales for hemp products in the US could increase to around $2.2 billion by 2022. This figure is double that of 2018, demonstrating the ever-growing potential of the business.

A hemp leaf, in a metal, silver plant pot, is a nice way to store your hemp plant

Drawbacks of Hemp Farming

As with anything good, there have to be negative elements. So, before diving into the world of hemp farming, it’s important to read up on all the possible issues that may arise.

Requires a Lot of Land

Due to the commercial uses of hemp, when it grows, it almost always has to be done so for an industrial level of marketing. At the end of the day, it’s not really a suitable crop for growing on a small market basis. This is why a minimum of around 50 acres is required for a successful business plan.

Requires a License

In July, a UK farm was stripped of their hemp farming license due to discrepancies in the government licensing. In order to comply with these regulations, the farm had to burn all their crops, losing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of produce in the process!

This just goes to show the importance of ensuring you get a suitable hemp growing license in accordance with government regulations, before beginning this process (see more on the UK government website). Simply apply online, fill in all the relevant details, and you’ll be good to go!

Just don’t forget to renew your license before the end of the growing season!

Requires Adapted Farming Machinery

As the fibres of the hemp plant are very strong and tough, they may cause damage to a standard combine harvester. What's more, during the processing of the plant, the stems must be separated into the outer bast fibre and the woody shiv. Therefore, different equipment to the traditional famring machinery will be required, as well as investments to provide both processing and manufacturing facilities for multiple end-uses.

A leaf of hemp can be used in all sorts of ways, including textiles and food

Will we see you in Hemp Heaven?

Want to find out more about diversifying your land into hemp farming? Our Farm Business Innovation Show will give you all the information you need, by putting you face-to-face with our exhibitors, the Cannabis Trades Association and Hemptank. Get your FREE tickets today, to join one of the thousands of farmers who are exploring the world of land diversification. 

Otherwise, perhaps you have a new idea for further land diversification and innovation, and want to get involved. If so, we’d love for you to get in touch with our Event Director, Reece Morris, at reece.morris@prysmgroup.co.uk, or call +44 (0)117 929 6087.

We’ll see you there, at the largest event of its kind in the UK, on 6th-7th November 2019, at the NEC in Birmingham.

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