If the U.S. hemp industry was a child, it’d be a toddler. That’s a far cry for Canada’s pre-teen industry, but the hemp and CBD industry in both countries are still a long way from full-grown.

Kristen Nichols, editor of Hemp Industry Daily, knows the ins and outs of the U.S. hemp industry and says that while it is growing, it’s still a very small acreage base with plenty of work yet to be done on processing capacity, red tape, and extension.

Part of the stumbling block on learning about and developing the CBD and hemp market is the lack of solid information on acres planted and harvested. It’s not a complete surprise, however, as the crop has only been legal to grow for the past two years, compared to over a decade in Canada.

Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about, as you can’t walk a health food aisle or browse online without seeing “CBD-oil” this and hemp heart that.

Nichols says the industry will see some products fall off the radar, but for those that make sense, the next 12 to 24 months will really be where CBD products earn their space next to other vitamin supplements and health foods. Plus, there is pharmaceutical potential, but that isn’t likely where most farmers and growers will focus their efforts.

Farmers are certainly interested in growing the crop, but there are several questions about where to go for agronomic advice, choosing lines and type of hemp to grow, and even how to access financing. Remember, Nichols says, that this was a crop that was illegal not that long ago — there’s still plenty of hurdles to clear before it will have the acceptance and infrastructure in place to really take off as a crop rotation option.

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