In Navigating New Normal, Hemp Farmers Find Support Despite COVID-19 Challenges

Planting season has arrived in the U.S., and hemp farmers are starting to plant their seeds for the 2020 growing season. Despite some hemp farmers being apprehensive about the 2020 grow season, most farmers remain enthusiastic and steadfast in their operations. 

Hemp was a wildly popular crop in 2019 as many farmers looked to grab their piece of the green rush caused by hemp’s full legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill. 

The demand for hemp is only going to continue to skyrocket.  

The global cannabidiol market size is expected to reach 22.2% CAGR by 2025, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. If that’s not enough, one of the key phytocannabinoids present in hemp derived CBG has been attracting a lot of attention in the scientific and wellness community as it is lauded for its purported anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. 

While America’s farmers have several factors to be concerned about regarding hemp as a crop this year, they have a lot to look forward to. Farmers can leverage this season with the right level of preparedness, support from the industry, government stimulus assistance, and having the right infrastructure in place.

Hemp is still the most lucrative crop per acre compared to corn, soybeans, and other conventional crops. 

Hemp Farmers Need the Right Genetics to Seize Opportunity 

For farmers to be successful in this climate, they will need to find the right partners, plant the right genetics, and follow the right protocols to maximize their yield. If farmers decide not to grow hemp this season, ripples could be felt throughout the hemp and CBD industries as prices soar. 

Historically, there has been a scarcity of hemp biomass which has presented a challenge to the ever growing demand for hemp derived products. If the industry does not yield enough hemp this year, it is likely that we would revert back to an environment when there is more demand for hemp than supply of it. This would lead to increased prices in the hemp and CBD supply chain.

Hemp Farmers and COVID-19 Stimulus

The government’s recent COVID-19 bill, the CARES Act, contained language designating stimulus funds for small businesses and farms. Many hemp industry insiders argue that includes hemp farmers as well. 

With the hemp industry in this country still in its infancy, these funds could be just the thing to give hemp farmers the security they need going into a rocky year to push forward planting their crops and have a successful season.

Getting Hemp Seeds in the Ground

Planting hemp crops is the primary objective for farmers over the next few months. While shipments from overseas have slowed and some farmers may struggle to find the seeds they need, domestic seed providers are ready to support the industry.

Even as smaller buyers of hemp biomass like Mom-and-Pop CBD producers reduce their orders or temporarily halt operations, larger CBD businesses are moving forward with ever-larger orders, further consolidating the industry and creating steady demand.

This has provided an opportunity for American farmers to pivot; all signs point to the need to seek domestic sources to find top quality genetics that are proven to grow successfully in U.S. regions. Because hemp related businesses in Colorado have been designated as essential during the outbreak, companies like EcoGen Laboratories are still operating to help hemp farmers prepare for their 2020 crops. 

Supporting Hemp Farmers 

With farmers facing so many challenges in the burgeoning hemp industry, programs that assist hemp farmers in feeling more secure can help this new industry take hold in the U.S. One way to ease the strain on hemp farmers is to establish programs that reduce the risk they take on when planting hemp. 

During this important planting season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, EcoGen will aid hemp farmers by providing competitively priced feminized seeds validated through genetic, germination and stability testing.  Following the final harvest, EcoGen would arrange to purchase back from farmers any unsold hemp biomass grown from the seeds bought from EcoGen that meet the company’s standards and arrange for shipping back to the facility for processing.

EcoGen’s hemp buy back program guarantees a minimum market for hemp farmers to recoup their investment in seeds despite potential fluctuations in the market. 

This sets a foundation of financial security for our partner farms: something that couldn’t come at a better time following the challenging 2019 season. Creating a symbiotic relationship between hemp growers, suppliers, and processors ensures mutually beneficial success for the entire hemp industry overall. 

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