The 2014 Farm Bill reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States after a 45-year hiatus.
Beginning in 2014, state pilot programs allowed growth of industrial hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized production beyond the pilot programs.
A new study from USDA's Economic Research Service explores outcomes and lessons learned from the pilot programs.
What did the study find?
Here's some findings from the report:
- Under the pilot programs, industrial hemp acreage in the United States increased to 146,065 acres in 2018, the largest U.S. hemp acreage since the 146,200 acres planted in 1943.
- Challenges to growing the crop included establishing state legislation that allowed hemp to be grown, acquiring production inputs, inconsistency between state requirements and lack of basic data and information for decision-making.
- By December 2019, hemp could be grown legally in every state except Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota.
- It is not likely that hemp will be economically viable in every state. Long-run economic viability of hemp will be impacted by competition from other domestic crops for acreage, global competition, market information and the regulatory environment.
The study is based on data drawn from state pilot program annual reports, website information, USDA's Farm Service Agency, discussions with state staff and third-party information. There is no systematic comprehensive data source regarding the emerging hemp industry in the United States.