Hemp production in the US in 2021 totalled $824m in value – the vast majority of which came from hemp grown for flowers, according to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Overall, the value of hemp grown in the open was $712m ($623m of which was from flowers) and $112m for hemp grown under protection (of which $64.4m was from flowers).
Floral hemp production from hemp grown in the open was estimated at 19.7m lbs. Utilised production totalled 15.7m lbs. Area harvested for floral hemp was estimated at 15,980 ac. The average yield for floral hemp was estimated at 1,235 lbs per ac.
Utah (3.3m lbs), Kentucky (2.7m), California (2.6m) and Oregon (2.4m) led in terms of floral hemp production from hemp grown in the open. These same states also led in terms of utilised production, but California dropped to the bottom of that group, with only 1.4m lbs utilised.
This could be because California led in lbs of hemp not sold, at just under 1.2m lbs left unsold in 2021. Vermont was second with 838,000 lbs unsold. No other state went over 400,000 lbs unsold, and very few were above the 100,000-lb level.
“This is hemp that was harvested from the field but was not sold for various reasons including but not limited to poor quality, market conditions, marketing restrictions, or other reasons. Hemp destroyed due to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not considered harvested,” the USDA said.
Oregon topped the chart on value of utilised production with nearly $235.5m, representing around a third of the $623m total nationwide.
Grown under protection and out in the open
Floral hemp production from hemp grown under protection was estimated at 310,421 lbs, with a utilised production totalling 256,124 lbs. The value of floral hemp from that came to $64.4m.
California was the biggest contributor to the production of hemp grown under protection, with just under 4m square feet used. This produced 75,330 lbs of floral hemp at an estimated value for utilised production of just over $10m. Strangely enough, this was the second-largest utilised production value after Tennessee, which saw 526,449 square feet used to produce 27,597 lbs of floral hemp valued at just over $12m.
Overall, for all types of hemp production, 33,480 ac were harvested out of 54,152 ac planted.
The top five states in terms of harvested hemp grown in the open were Montana (4,500 ac), Colorado (3,100), Minnesota (2,300), California (2,250) and Utah (2,150). Of interest is that Colorado planted far and away the most hemp, at an estimated 10,100 ac, followed by Montana at 7,900. No other state saw more than 3,000 ac planted. The USDA report did not disclose why so much planted Colorado hemp was not harvested.
It did say it could not disclose utilised production in Montana because it would be liable to show data for individual operations – suggesting the state’s large hemp crop may be mostly controlled by one entity. Montana’s crop was mostly planted for purposes other than growing flower, as the total acreage produced less than 772,000 pounds of industrial floral hemp, which resulted in less than $118m in utilised production, the USDA added.
‘A needed benchmark’
National Agricultural Statistics Service administrator Hubert Hamer said: “The release of this landmark report provides a needed benchmark about hemp production to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other key industry entities. Not only will these data guide USDA agencies in their support of domestic hemp production, the results can also help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce. The survey results may also impact policy decisions about the hemp industry.”
The target population for the Hemp Acreage and Production Survey was all US growers licensed to grow hemp in 2021 under the 2014 or 2018 Farm Bill. The survey was administered in all 50 states. The survey found that a majority of hemp farmers (58%) had been operating a farm for five or fewer years; the average age of respondents was 51.
In 2021, 27 states (DE, FL, GA, HI, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NH, NJ, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, WA and WY) and all Native American Tribes operated under the regulations of the 2018 Farm Bill. Twenty-two states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, IL, KY, ME, MT, NM, NY, NC, ND, OR, TN, UT, VT, VA, WV and WI) followed the regulations of the 2014 Farm Bill, which was administered by the respective state governments. Idaho did not have a regulated hemp growing programme in 2021.
– Freddie Dawson CBD-Intell staff
Photo: Rose Kelly