Industrial hemp is on the rise, and is the center of a new and growing economy. "American farmers have been watching as Canadian farmers clear huge profits from hemp: $250 per acre in 2013. Hemp will be able to compete with mainstream grain crops and it is expected to gain a net return of $200- $400 per acre.” investorshub.advfn.com. So, why don't more farmers grow hemp? With huge profits to be made and other major incentives to grow Hemp as a product, what are the hold ups?
For one, viable to grow seeds are federally illegal to import, and finding seeds that produce plants with less than .3% THC are also the problem. That might change, "Now that summer 2014 harvest is over, there is more viable seed here in Colorado than ever." growhempcolorado.com. 2015 could be even better, "There is more than 10 times as much hemp being grown this year compared to last year," David Bush (Bush Law, upcoming interview). Hemp seed is becoming more available, and this year's harvest could be the turning point for Colorado growers.
For two, the last few years the price for viable hemp seeds in Colorado has been sky high, $200 to $2000 for a pound of germinating seeds. According to Manitoba Agriculture the average price for seed in Canada is from $0.75 to $0.90 a pound with Organic seed costing 30% to 40% more. It can take 20 to 40 lbs. of seed to cover just one acre, so costs are still prohibitive. Also growers have had a hard time finding seeds to buy, and some have scavenged the corners of Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky and other states for the infamous "Ditch Weed," of old.
The problem is Colorado does not have a hemp seed grain exchange like other seed crops. "Recently, Colorado's Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 196," David Bush (Bush Law), a bill aimed at establishing a certified hemp seed program in Colorado. The newly formed program will be established by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and will allow hemp farmers to apply to the Department and receive hemp seed for industrial growth. The bill has already passed the Colorado Senate and if passed in the House, it will go to Governor John Hickenlooper for final approval.
For too long, Colorado hemp farmers have not been able obtain hemp seeds do to Federal regulations, and this year the Colorado Department of Agriculture has already been given approval by the DEA to import and receive hemp seeds. Imported strains of hemp include Alyssa, Anka, CRS-1, CFX-2, Delores and Finloa. One current Colorado strain is "Colorado Star," and is available through Mile High Hemp LLC and other retailers.
One thing is for certain and that is, Hemp is growing in Colorado and only getting bigger.