South Dakota has leaped into second place as a grower of industrial hemp, increasing plantings while most states across the U.S. trimmed their fields last year, according to analysis by the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association (SDIHA).
South Dakota increased harvested fields in 2022 by 35% to 2,540 acres, up from 1,674 in 2021, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR). And farmers in the state harvested virtually all of their hemp crops.
No. 2 behind Montana
The SDIHA said its analysis shows South Dakota was No. 2 in the nation last year in terms of hemp acres planted, just behind Montana, where acres planted fell from 5,833 in 2021 to 2,998 acres last year.
In addition to adding acreage, DANR reports the number of hemp producers in the state doubled from 20 in 2021 to 40 in 2022.
South Dakota and other states across the northern U.S. are well-suited to proven hemp grain and fiber cultivars from Europe, due to latitudinal and climate conditions. And that’s mainly what the state’s hemp farmers have been growing as they shied away from CBD. DANR said farmers see promise in producing hemp seed for food products and fiber outputs for the construction and other industries.
Leader in fiber
Official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures for 2021 from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), showed that of 8,000 acres planted for fiber across the USA, 1,200 were in South Dakota that year.
Much-needed licensed processors are reported to be setting up decortication operations in the southeastern part of the state that should be operational this year.
The 2022 hemp harvest across the U.S. is expected to shrink by nearly half to about 20,000 acres as all sectors continue to be soft. Official USDA/NASS figures for 2022 are expected next month.