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Hundreds of farmers consider joining the hemp farming industry

Local News

(Nexstar Media/ Tori Larned)

LUBBOCK, Texas– Hundreds of farmers crowded in a room on Tuesday ready to learn about the Hemp industry that is predicted to explode in Texas.

Farm to Market Hemp hosted an event at Cook’s Garage, where professionals in the hemp industry shared their insight with 250 farmers across the Panhandle about the proper practices in growing the crop.

“Everybody knows the Ag industry is struggling the last few years,” said Chris Bednarz, a cotton farmer in Lynn County who attended the event. “The passage of hemp in Texas is another avenue for potentially a little extra income.”

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized commercial hemp production and authorized states to submit state plans for hemp programs.

In June, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325, authorizing the production, manufacturing, and sale of hemp crops and products in Texas. This opened the gateway for hemp in Texas.

However, farmers cannot grow Hemp until the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) 2018 guidelines for hemp. That is expected in the Fall.

“Recently, USDA has informed TDA that it anticipates releasing that guidance in Fall 2019. TDA must wait for those guidelines prior to developing administrative rules and submitting a plan to USDA,” according to the TDA website.

Meanwhile, farmers are utilizing the time to build their knowledge of the product and decide if they will invest in what is expected to be a rapidly growing industry in Texas.

“If you watch a surfing competition, the winner is already on the front of the wave,” said Calvin Luck, a farmer in the Northeast Panhandle. “That’s where these guys want to be. They want to see the profit potential for this crop to revitalize the family farm in Texas.”

Kristie Mallow, the founder of Farm to Market Hemp, said she created the organization in February of 2019, hoping to create a consortium of farmers who could share their insight and resources with each other.

Beau Woodock grew his hemp farm in Colorado three years ago and shared his insight with Tuesday’s crowd to help other farmers succeed.

“A lot of education still has to go on,” Woodock said. “For the most part, it’s bringing them in and taking them through the simplest way I can explain how to go from a row crop or cotton crop farmer to using large scale acreage to grow hemp.”

According to Woodock, the hemp industry can average from $20,000 to $60,000 per acre of hemp, whereas farmers are currently making approximately $500 to $1000 an acre off traditional crops.

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