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How to Farm Industrial Hemp in the United States

"how to farm industrial hemp" growing industrial hemp

Getting Started: Is Farming Industrial Hemp Right for You?

Refer to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Hemp 101 seminar at the bottom of this page for more insider information about growing hemp. 

Farming industrial hemp in the United States has never been more rewarding! The market for industrial hemp is reemerging and growing fast as more and more states lift the band on cultivation, opening the door for thousands of hemp based products! As a farmer, you know this is a huge investment opportunity, but what exactly needs to be done to successfully farm and cultivate industrial hemp?

1. Contact your state's department of agriculture and apply for a permit to produce industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp is not a crop you will dump at your local co-op come harvest. Hemp grain is NOT your run-of-the-mill crop like corn.  Hemp production not only needs specific licensing and approval from your state's Department of Agriculture, but being so early in the rising industry means the market for hemp is delicate, requiring the farmer to do a little bit homework before their hemp can bring in the big bucks. In 2014, the federal government delegated authority to the states on industrial hemp production with the passing of the Federal Farm Bill, but that doesn't mean you should be scrambling to get seed into the ground willy--nilly. It is true, if you want to see success with industrial hemp, get into the game early, but make sure you do it right the first time, every time. Being so early in the game, you get to choose the cards you are dealt, so make the deal in advance. 

2. Contract a buyer before putting seed in the ground. 

The industrial hemp industry is growing fast. It is anticipated to become a huge money making operation for farmers and entrepreneurs alike. The industrial plant can be farmed for grain, certified seed, fibers, and more. The grain alone is a superfood with increasing popularity in the whole foods market. Legacy Hemp's cultivar, X-59, is high in protein and contains an ideal ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. The body needs these nutrients in order to function, but can only get them from food like hemp grains.  It just so happens that the market for industrial hemp right now is in the grain. This is good news to you because, as a farmer, you probably have all the necessary equipment in your barn or shed to cultivate industrial hemp grains!

 Focus on grain production and the companies that will buy your industrial hemp grain. 

Currently, high throughput processing for industrial hemp is largely limited to the grain. As a farmer, this good news. You are used to being profitable on grains alone, but with hemp and few more years of research and development, textile grade fibers will also be able to be sold. Can you do that with corn? There never was much money in the stalks of corn, but a few years down the line, with industrial hemp, you'll be paying yourself double. 

Preporation: Before You Put the First Seed in the Ground

So, you did your homework, you applied for the appropriate permit to grow industrial hemp and you found a buyer to take your grain and give you your well-deserved cash at the end of the season. Now you are ready to put your years of experience as a farmer to the test. With all  the paperwork aside, you can now do the part of hemp farming that  that you enjoy the most: getting a little dirty. 

3. Perform complete soil tests  (Midwest Labs)

Industrial hemp is a very resilient crop, capable to be successful in nearly all types of soil.  Hemp also outgrows and shades out most weeds, but these soil test are required not only because you want to be sure to optimize your expected grain yield, but also because much of the market for hemp grain is dependent on whether or not it meets the criteria to be called certified organic. The market is swinging away from conventional grain and moving towards organic hemp grain to please the whole foods markets. 

Right now, organic industrial hemp grain is selling for more than twice that of conventional hemp grain. Organic industrial hemp grain currently is being sold for close to $1000 an acre! But in order to get this amount's worth of cash out of your fields, you need to verify that your fields and the certified hemp seed you are up to industry standards to be called organic. X-59 can be grown conventionally or organically.  

These soil tests should focus on nutrients like soft rock phosphate, potassium sulfate, and elemental sulfer. Soil tests should be completed in late fall or early spring prior to sowing the first industrial hemp seeds in the ground. Legacy hemp provides certified organic hemp seed to farmers with production contracts of the industrial hemp seedcultivar, X-59. Known for its sweet and nutty flavor, near ideal shatter resistance, X-59 (Hempnut) is a favorite of the hemp industry with the whole food market.  X-59 can be planted coated with ProfitCoat PB seed coating to give it a head start in the cultivation process. 

While Seed is in the Ground


4. Plant when soil temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

With narrow rows for weed suppression, the seeds should be planted ½ to ¾ inches deep at a seeding rate of 30 lb per acre. Industrial hemp requires only standard seeding equipment and conventional combines from planting to harvest. This allows the average farmer to get into the industrial hemp game following the formalities and paperwork involved with collected your state’s required permits and partnerships which buyers. Legacy Hemp will only partners with those companies and farmers what are willing to look toward the long-term success of the newly established industrial hemp industry.

5. Balance Soil Fertility to minimize weed competition and maximize hemp plant health.

Ocean GTraace Minerals - Crop (OTM-C) provides organic nutrient support to the growing hemp plants in the form of a foliar spray on seedlings 12” to 24” tall or directly onto the soil. Derived from sea water,but stripped of its salty origins, OTM-C provides an abundance of trace minerals and necessary substances to allow for a plentiful harvest. OTM-C can be applied to fields at as little as 22.5 oz per acres to ensure the fruitfulness of your hemp fields. 

6. Harvest at approximately 110 days with conventional combines. 

At approximately 110 days, the head of the industrial hemp plant (X-59) has fully matured. This is the ideal period to combine and clean the grain of foreign material and prep for storage. At 9% hemp grain can be long-term in silos under processed further by customers.

Legacy Hemp will provide hemp grain processing services for its own operations and affiliates. We are here to work for you. 

Legacy Hemp is selective in its partnerships, this is a good for the industry and those who work with us. Legacy Hemp provides the ability to process industrial hemp grains into a variety of products, This selectivity is what will keep the industry vital and youthful as it looks toward the future and overcomes the hurdles of the critical first stages to set up infrastructure. We want our farmers to succeed which is why a production contract is required to work with Legacy Hemp. These contract ensure that all your hard work, all your grain, finds a place on the shelf at the end of the year while your and money finds rest in your pocket. 

Final note: planting without a buyer is both risky to the farmer and a potential hazard to a still infant industry. With so much room to go, Legacy Hemp aims to guide the newly legalized industrial hemp industry to success by doing it right the first time, every time, because “doing it right now,” is NOT the same as “doing it right, now.”

Apply to be a hemp farmer now!

Wisconsin Farm Bureau: Hemp 101 Seminar

Need more information? Please watch this video seminar explaining how you can grow industrial hemp in Wisconsin. Much of the detail of this video can be applied to other states as well. We want you to join the legacy of hemp by producing grain and profit with this information. 

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