Missouri’s hemp program perseveres through 1st year growing pains

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With hemp growing not as widespread as expected in the first year of Missouri’s state program, the nascent sector ended up with a relatively balanced crop, with 37% of the 811 acres grown harvested for fiber.

Farming for cannabinoids dominated hemp growing in Missouri, with fields planned for output of flowers for CBD and CBG making up 55% of the statewide total recorded by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA). That figure most likely would have been higher but for global CBD market difficulties brought on by overproduction that left many American farmers with unsold crops in 2019.

Hot crops

Source: Missouri Department of Agriculture

“It was a difficult year on many fronts for the 2020 hemp program,” Tyler Morgan of the Missouri Hemp Trade Association told mogreenway.com. In addition to barriers caused by the COVID-19 shutdown, some Missouri farmers saw their crops go over the federal limit of 0.3% THC. The MDA reported that 9% of planted hemp acreage failed THC tests; 69% tested within the compliance limits and was eligible for harvest in 2020, MDA said.

The agency said a “substantial portion” of the remaining acres were unharvested due to pest or disease, weather, lack of labor and market weakness.

The state handed out 207 producer licenses and 78 farming licenses in 2020, MDA said. Eighty hemp “samplers” were certified to collect compliance samples in the program’s inaugural year.

Stalwart pioneers

Morgan lauded the pioneers in Missouri’s re-emerged hemp industry, and noted that despite the growing pains, “there are some real success stories” among those who participated in the state’s hemp program in its first year.

Nonetheless,”there are a lot of improvements we need to make to protect our farmers and the hemp industry’s contribution to the economy of Missouri,” Morgan said.

“If we have regulations that put our members at risk then we also have regulations that put our own state economy at further risk. I think we have it in us to protect our citizens and our state from undue harm caused by regulatory uncertainty,” Morgan said.

Planned outputs 2020

Source: Missouri Department of Agriculture

DETAILS: Missouri hemp county by county

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