Industrial Hemp Viability Explored in South Carolina

Clemson Cooperative Extension agents say that industrial hemp could be a viable crop alternative for South Carolina farmers. Last year’s pilot program permitted 20 farmers to grow industrial hemp in the state. One of the challenges growers encountered was that fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides aren’t labeled for the crop. Biological controls have offered an option for some growers. Meanwhile, economists say there is a strong market for hemp, with hemp-based product sales predicted to reach $1.9 billion by 2022. They are working to create an enterprise budget; preliminary figures show operating costs ranging from $8,000 to $13,000, not counting labor and machinery. There are also costs associated with production and processing infrastructure, some of which are borne by growers.