January 28, 2021

Less Indiana hemp went to pot in 2020

WEST LAFYATTE, Ind. — Most hemp plants fared well in 2020, according to Don Robison, seed administrator at the Office of Indiana State Chemist.

Robison shared a hemp update during a webinar hosted by Hemplet Farms.

“New diseases have been reported this year,” he said. “Also, the market is shaking out — crop value is continuing to decrease as price per pound of biomass has plummeted in the last three years.

“I don’t think $8 per pound was sustainable. Now some people are at the 44 cents per pound range — I don’t know if that’s sustainable either. I think it’s going to end up being a little bit higher than that when the whole market shakes out.”

There were 8,900 acres of outdoor production registered this year. Around 2,000 acres were canceled due to funding or COVID-19 concerns.

“The Farm Service Agency only reported about 2,900 acres,” Robison said. “So, we’re at about 4,000 acres that’s undocumented, whether it was planted or not.”

There were 283 licenses issued this year and around 1,000 grower sites, more than double the numer from 2019.

CBD was the biggest component of acres and square feet at 442 grow sites, 5,404 acres and 1.1 million square feet of indoor growth.

The fiber sector had 38 grow sites and 1,667 acres.

Hemp grown in the “other” category included 704 acres, 129 grow sites and 468,000 square feet.

“Grain, seed, seed oil is another area that we anticipate will really grow in the Midwest, once processors, storage facilities and a final market are really in place,” Robison said.

This year grain, seed and seed oil included 54 grow sites, 615 acres and 52,600 square feet in Indiana.

There are now seven hemp processors in place and running in the state.

At least one processing facility was built, but is sitting idle due to difficulty turning a profit.

This year around 20% of the hemp crop has gone hot — or had too high THC levels. This is down from 30% last year.

“We think the lowering of hot crop has a lot to do with the push for a strong education and information campaign to test early and often,” Robison said.

The least successful varieties this year included cherry wine, Oregon cherry, bubba remedy, Sundstrand proprietary and more.

This year, the Indiana State Hemp Plan was approved. The plan regulates the growing, drying and processing of hemp.

“What that means is, once you get your plan approved, you actually are working with the USDA under the 2018 farm bill, and everything is now working as a combined federal and state program,” Robison explained.

In A Nutshell

• Most hemp did well this year.

• Crop value is decreasing.

• 8,900 acres registered in 2020.

• State hemp plan approved.

Learn more at www.oisc.purdue.edu/hemp.