CoBank Report Says Hemp Offers Agriculture Big Risks and Big Rewards

Hemp acreage in the United States tripled from 2017 to 2018. However, CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division warns in a new report, Industrial Hemp: Overview of Opportunities and Risks, that false, outdated, biased or even contradictory information can make the industrial hemp industry difficult to navigate. The report identifies and assesses nine risks or uncertainties that face the hemp industry for each of hemp’s three crops and markets: fiber, grain/seed, and CBD production. Among the report’s conclusions are that regulatory and legal hurdles compound the risks for the hemp industry. In addition, lack of processing capacity is a significant barrier for the hemp fiber industry. The report also notes USDA plans to release hemp regulations and guidance in the fall of 2019, in time for the 2020 growing season, and says that USDA and the FDA regulations will not only be crucial in determining risk and defining the outlook of the hemp industry, but also in setting a path forward for leaders to finance hemp.