With demand for the versatile crop ever-growing, American hemp production is nearly a US$1-billion dollar sector.
According to the results of the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey, the total value of U.S. hemp production was US$824 million last year.
Data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service show planted area for industrial hemp grown in the open totalled 54,152 acres, and harvested area at 33,480 acres. Open-air hemp production was valued at US$712 million.
Area under protection accounted for around 358 acres of industrial hemp production, valued at US$112 million.
The top use for the crop by far was hemp flower production, accounting for US$687.4 million of the sector, which is likely due to the huge demand for CBD and hemp oil. In the outdoors, the average yield for floral hemp was around 1,235 pounds per acre.
This “landmark” report provides a needed benchmark about hemp production to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors and other key industry entities, says Hubert Hamer, administrator for the USDA’s statistics service.
“Not only will these data guide USDA agencies in their support of domestic hemp production, the results can also help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce. The survey results may also impact policy decisions about the hemp industry,” he said in a statement.
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Other top uses for the crop include harvesting hemp seed, which represents US$65.2 million to the production sector. Hemp grown under protection was much more efficient for hemp seed production, with 4,059 pounds of hemp grown valued at US$23.7 million. That’s compared to 1.9 million pounds of open production valued at US$41.5 million.
Around 33.2 million pounds of hemp was grown for fibre last year, for a total value of US$41.4 million.
Other uses included production for transplants and clones (US$23.8 million), as well as for grain (US$6 million).
The survey found that 82 per cent of hemp producers are male, and 52 per cent of respondents reported farming as their primary occupation.
While the 2018 Farm Bill established regulations for legal hemp cultivation in the U.S., regulators have yet to create clear rules on its most valuable derivative, CBD.