Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. Yes, it’s manufactured into CBD oil, but it can do a lot more! Believe it or not, hemp production has an estimated 25,000 uses. In the United States alone, hemp is typically used to create:
- Food (consider: Hemp Seed Bars from Trader Joe’s!)
- Animal Feed
- Building Materials
- CBD Products (of course!)
With this in mind, you might be wondering how to grow hemp for yourself. However, hemp production is much more complicated than you might think. Many CBD users may not have the tools – or meet the legal requirements – for harvesting hemp.
Are you considering growing hemp for CBD oil or manufacturing another hemp-derived product? You might want to think again: hemp production is much more than just planting hemp seeds and watching them grow.
Today, we’ll discover how to grow hemp, who can legally grow hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, and more. Let’s get started!
What’s Needed to Farm Hemp?
There are a variety of contingencies surrounding hemp farming. You need the right land for planting hemp seeds, the proper climate for growing and harvesting hemp. And you need the right equipment and the right state politics. Essentially you need the right everything.
Remember that there are over 25,000 uses for the hemp plant. For hemp farmers, however, there are only two:
- Growing hemp for CBD production.
- Growing hemp for industrial purposes.
You must first know why you are growing hemp in order to approach the hemp production process. For example, you might be trying to grow your own CBD-dominant strains of hemp to create DIY CBD oil. This is perhaps the least complicated step in the overall process. Trust us, it gets worse.
Let’s examine the important aspects of hemp farming so you can gain a better sense of how to grow hemp.
Land Requirements for Planting Hemp Seeds
Rule #1 of farming: agriculture requires land! Hemp is no exception to this golden rule. Agricultural land is most commonly used for:
- Planting Seeds (as is the case with hemp farming)
- Drilling (such as with wheat farming)
- Pasteurization (for livestock farming)
- Storage for Potted Agriculture
Land is essential. When planting hemp seeds, you’ll want large, flat fields with excellent percolation. “Percolation” is the key word here. Hemp thrives in porous soil with high access to water and nutrients.
If you’re growing hemp for industrial purposes, not for DIY CBD oil, you don’t necessarily need high-quality soil. Just make sure your soil is well-draining and full of organic matter! However, if you’re growing hemp to make CBD oil, we recommend high-quality soil as you’ll be ingesting what you grow.
What about the size of your hemp farm? Well, it can be difficult to turn a profit on less than 50 acres of suitable land when growing hemp. If growing for personal use, size may not be a factor. However, you do need to be aware of how many hemp plants can fit into one acre!
- If growing hemp for CBD, you can plant a maximum of 4,000 hemp plants per acre.
- If growing hemp for industrial uses, you can plant a maximum of 400,000 hemp plants per acre.
Climate Requirements for Hemp Production
Now that we know the land requirements for hemp farming, what weather and climate do we need? First and foremost, hemp must be grown outside of tropical areas: the further from the equator, the better.
Hemp plants prefer temperate weather with a large day-and-night thermal spread. In short? Hot days, cold nights. These plants also thrive in very hot, short summers and cold winters. When considering how to grow hemp, you must live in a geographic region that supports these specific needs. If you live in a place with year-round sunshine, hemp farming might not be right for you.
However, if you live in an area ripe with vineyards or high-valley fruit farms, you’re already operating within the golden zone of hemp production! The most common example of vineyard-style farming in the United States? Grapes and wineries, of course!
What Equipment Do You Need to Grow Hemp?
Hemp plants are strong with notoriously bushy leaves. This means that high-volume agricultural machinery can easily become clogged. Agricultural machinery must be outfitted to withstand hemp clogging if ordinary farmers wish to enter the hemp business.
Furthermore, if you’re considering how to farm hemp specifically for hemp fiber, you must invest in a special piece of equipment called a decorticator. Decorticators separate the fibers from the rest of the plant. Seems simple enough, right? Well, an agricultural-sized decorticator might set you back a cool $70,000!
Because of the high costs of machinery, many hemp farmers partner with manufacturers who accept raw plant material. The manufacturers are then responsible for processing the hemp plants into products like CBD oil and biofuel.
Hemp Farming Procedures
Now that we know what’s needed to farm hemp, let’s take a look at what hemp farming actually looks like. As we mentioned, CBD-intent hemp farms can only plant a maximum of 4,000 hemp plants per acre. Industrial-intent hemp farms, on the other hand, can grow a maximum of about 400,000 hemp plants per acre. But how do farmers go about planting these seeds?
For CBD-hemp farming, seeds are often planted, tended to, cultivated, and harvested by hand. That’s a lot of work! Industrial-grade hemp farms will often use heavy machinery to circumvent the manpower needed to run a hemp farm. However, heavy equipment substantially raises hemp production costs. Remember when we said hemp farming is much more complex than meets the eye? You’re beginning to see why. But CBD-hemp farmers are looking towards a futuristic hemp farming technique that could change the way we farm hemp. This process is known as cellular agriculture.
Cellular Agriculture: Growing Hemp for CBD
CBD science indicates that cannabinoids like CBD and THC could be synthesized in a laboratory setting. This is known as cellular agriculture. Lab-born CBD would be identical to naturally hemp-derived CBD molecules. However, Lab-CBD (as we’re calling it) would require much, much less work. Why? Because you wouldn’t need the land, climate, or equipment necessary to farm hemp for yourself.
What are the benefits of cellular agriculture when applied to hemp?
- Tailored Hemp Compounds: labs could craft CBD molecules tailored to specific products. For example, labs could easily craft water-soluble CBD for bath bombs or edible CBD for gummies.
- Promoting Cannabis Research: labs could not only create cannabinoids but study them in the same setting. Advancements in cellular agriculture might also spark public interest, increasing funding for cannabinoid research.
- Crafting Pure Cannabinoids: labs could create cannabinoids with higher purities than those found in nature. They could also isolate cannabinoids that are only found in small quantities, such as CBG and CBN.
Harvesting Hemp: the Ins & Outs
Whether you’re growing hemp for CBD or industrial purposes, you should harvest your hemp between June and early November. The closer you live to the Earth’s North and South Poles, the sooner your plants are ready for harvest.
The 2018 Farm Bill & the Legality of Hemp Production
You might be thinking: how do legal boundaries play a role in harvesting hemp? Believe it or not, acquiring “legal” hemp seeds is more difficult than meets the eye. For starters, the majority of U.S. hemp seeds are imported from Canada or Europe. Although hemp is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, this importation causes problems for both local and federal governments.
How is that possible?
According to the Farm Bill, hemp is only “legal” when the final crop contains 0.3% THC or less. For example’s sake, let’s say we purchased hemp seeds from Canada:
- We plant our hemp seeds in a temperate climate.
- After months of waiting, our hemp plants are ready to harvest!
- We harvest our plants and dry them out. However, according to federal law, every harvest must be subject to third-party lab testing.
- Federal testing shows that our harvest contains 0.5% THC, higher than the federal legal allowance of 0.3%.
What happens in this hypothetical scenario? Well, our plants are confiscated by the federal government, and the entire harvest is destroyed. This is only one of the many legal factors that hemp farmers must endure. In addition, these problems may be exacerbated if state regulatory bodies do not provide protections to hemp farmers and manufacturers. While the 2018 Farm Bill was revolutionary for legalizing hemp at the federal level, it still has its problems. We still need more comprehensive legal protections for hemp farmers!
Should You Farm Your Own Hemp?
So now you know how to grow hemp, but should you? Let’s review! In order to farm hemp…
- You need the right land, climate, and equipment. If growing hemp for CBD, these requirements are increasingly strict.
- Most hemp harvesting is done by hand, which requires a lot of manpower! If harvesting industrial-grade hemp, you’ll need a lot of expensive equipment.
- You must navigate the tricky legal battlefield of hemp production before you’re able to simply make your own DIY CBD oil.
- You have to purchase the right hemp seeds. Plus, you won’t know you’ve chosen good seeds until after you harvest. You could waste months of work just to find out your hemp contains too much THC. Then, your only option is to forfeit your crops and try again.
We never want to tell someone not to pursue their dreams. However, if your dream is hemp farming, we hope you’re ready for what’s to come. Until more comprehensive laws are built upon the shoulders of the 2018 Farm Bill, we recommend against hemp farming.
Purchase your CBD oil online from trusted manufacturers and save yourself the effort! At CBD Choice, we offer the highest quality CBD products on the market. We work with a variety of hemp farmers who are doing it right, utilizing organic processes to craft superior hemp products.