How do you successfully grow hemp?
Farmers can be successful with this plant, but it is not easy. Here are a few tips:
- Treat it like a business. There is a risk … and there can be rewards. Before planting 500 or 1,000 or 5,000 acres, test it, do research, and evaluate your land and the strains you want to grow to reduce the risk.
- Strains and varieties REALLY MATTER. Do not simply assume that if a strain grows well in Colorado, or Kentucky, or even South Carolina, that it will equally produce in Georgia. Micro-climates matter and the strains that a farmer grows need to be tested, and tried, and true, either by the farmer or our research partner, the University of Georgia.
- Do not believe everything you hear about this plant and this industry. More than 70 percent of what you hear will be exaggerated at best, and often outright fabrications, from YIELDS to SEEDLING COSTS, to SELLING PRICES, to EASE OF GROWTH. Hemp has not been grown at scale since the 1940s, and what was grown then is not what is being grown today.
- It is hard to make money and be profitable, no matter what business you are in industrial hemp is the same, and there are many added difficulties because it is A BRAND NEW INDUSTRY. Remember this and be prepared to work, experiment, change, modify, and then do it all over again. And, be sure to have FUN DOING IT.
How does severe weather affect production?
The plant is hearty, much like a weed. It is somewhat pest and cold resistant. It does like water, although this varies drastically with environment and seed strain. Certain plants like humidity, and certain strains prefer dry climates. The biggest concern TODAY is THC percentages. This is both strain-dependent and dependent on environmental factors. This is also a massive risk, because if the THC percentages go above 0.3%, it becomes federally ILLEGAL, and will have to be destroyed. This varies slightly by state, but is a consideration in your research.
The plant typically does not like soil temperatures below 45 degrees. Freezing normally will not kill the plant, but steady soil temperatures below 45 degrees will hinder or stop flower production.
How should farmers navigate price discovery for their crops?
This is an opaque industry and is not formally commoditized, so getting data might be difficult. You have to seek the proper information and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.
It is incredibly important to be with the RIGHT TEAM, and the RIGHT PARTNERS. At GA Xtracts, we think of our farmers as partners. Their success is our success, and in the end, we produce the best product when everyone is educated and committed to excellence.
Since the industry is still maturing, how can farmers ensure they are getting the best deal?
Understand that the “best deal” might not be the “right deal” to the individual farmer. There is money to be made in this industry for everyone, but it will happen over time, not overnight. A farmer should enter this industry for the long term, not the short term. Again, the best deal is of ten based on the right people, not just the financial numbers.
You need to know your individual state laws, because each state is different. For example, in Georgia, a farmer must already have a contract with a processor in order to even get a license to grow. So, in other words, picking partners and working with processors actually happens before a farmer ever plants a seed. Also, during production or while the crop is growing, the farmer must continually test the crop. We work with our farming partners to aid in their cultivation , but the farmer needs to BE SURE that the crop stays below the legal limits for THC, which is less than 0.3%. This is not only dependent on strain, but also on environmental conditions.
The Right Partners Matter
Look to work with companies like GA Xtracts, who have been in the business for many years. Seek partners, who don’t consider hemp a “hobby”, and whose team members are experts in their fields. This can save farmers lots of time and money as well.
For the Good of the Industry and Consumers
Look for companies like GA Xtracts, who have been working for the good of the industry and the good of consumers, not solely for the good of their own companies.
- Look for people, who are up front and above board.
- Look for people who care about the industry and doing things right, not just making money.
- Look for businesses that are in this industry for the long term, not the short term gain.
Promoting Legislation & Research
Look for companies that understand regulation.
At GA Xtracts, we work with state legislators, state agricultural agencies, research universities, the USDA, the FDA, and every other agency that regulates this crop. We are actively partnering with the University of Georgia’s Agriculture Research Center, The University of Georgia School of Veterinary Science, and the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy. We also played a large role is assisting Georgia in writing its industrial hemp legislation.