Hemp acres in Canada, U.S. expand considerably following regulatory changes

What a difference a year makes in the world of hemp. Whether you’re in Canada or in the U.S., hemp acres are significantly up, year-over-year.

In Canada, farmers seeded 82,510 acres this year compared to 41,200 in 2018, according to Statistics Canada. Comparatively in the U.S., 128,000 acres were seeded in 2019, according to USDA data. Montana tops the list with 39,000 acres, followed by Colorado, and then Kentucky for most hemp acres. With the passing of the farm bill in late 2018, changes to the harvestability of hemp has sparked renewed interest in the crop south of the border due to significant demand increase for CBD related products.

Canadian growers increased their interest in hemp with the legalization of cannabis nationally, which relaxed some of the prior restrictions on harvest.

Although hemp has been grown for decades the acreage has never received so much attention. Some bullish supporters of hemp believe that it has the potential to be an alternative to crops such as corn, soybeans, and canola that need new competition for acres.

Jeff Kostuik, director of operations in central Canada and the U.S.for Hemp Genetics International (HGI), says, “As of August of last year, is when we as farmers became eligible to play in the game of CBD (cannabidiol) and flower. Previous to that, we could take the seed off the field, and we could take the stalk off the field, but all the flower material had to stay on the field. We were essentially missing out on what’s become a billion-dollar industry worldwide.” (Hear more on that, here).

Analysts in the hemp space believe that acres are due to increase at the same kind of rate in 2020 as well in both countries.

Related: Canadian market ready for new hemp market opportunities

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