Analyzing Hemp’s Inclusion in the 2022 USDA Ag Census

The inclusion of hemp in the 2022 USDA Census of Agriculture marks a significant milestone, offering detailed data for the first time and boosting optimism about the industry's growth and prospects.

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For the first time, hemp finds its place in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Census of Agriculture. Including the crop in the 2022 Ag Census has bolstered the optimism of hemp cultivators and stakeholders regarding the industry’s growth prospects. Statisticians from the USDA emphasize the significance of this development, stating that the Ag Census provides valuable data at county and state levels that are not readily available in the annual National Hemp Report. This information will help researchers gain a more comprehensive understanding of every aspect of farming and the industry’s vitality.

Breaking Down Hemp Farming Statistics in Ag Census

The 2022 USDA Ag Census breaks down field crop and nursery data into different categories. For field crops, there were 215 hemp farms with an acreage of 5,841, producing 11.1 million pounds for fiber; 1,893 farms with a total acreage of 10,557, yielding 11 million pounds for floral purposes; 70 farms on an area of 3,164 acres, generating 886,702 pounds for grain; and finally, 125 farms covering 196 acres and cultivating 215,744 pounds for other uses.

Regarding nursery crops involved in hemp cultivation, the Census recorded 252 farms specializing in clones or transplants across approximately1.4 million square feet; complete grows totaling 673 farms and around 3.5 million square feet; and seed production taking place on 97 farms covering half a million square feet space.

Concerns Over Declining Growth Rates Due to Insufficient Regulation

Jonathan Miller from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable expressed concern about a decline in growth due to insufficient federal regulation on hemp-derived products. He mentioned that they don’t have access to prior-year data but emphasized that there has been a significant decrease compared to previous years. Miller highlighted the need for federal regulation and referred to nonprofit organizations like the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, which are working towards that goal.

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The Shift in Dominance of Floral Hemp Production

According to the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, floral hemp is an ingredient in various products such as supplements, skin creams, shampoos, and other CBD-containing items. Miller stated that while floral hemp used to dominate hemp production in the United States, it is no longer the case. He mentioned that in 2019 and 2020, floral hemp made up around 80% to 90% of production.

Agricultural Decline Affecting Both Hemp Growth and Overall Farming

However, the downward trend in hemp growth is not unique to the industry alone. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted during the event commemorating the Ag Census’ data release that there has been a reduction in the total number of farms by over 142,000 and a loss of 20 million acres of farmland since the 2017 report.

Potential for Growth in the Industrial Hemp Sector

Geoff Whaling, chair of the National Hemp Association, remains hopeful about the potential for growth in the number of hemp farms, particularly regarding industrial hemp. He questioned why farmers who grow crops like corn and soy must undergo extensive background checks and testing when they want to incorporate hemp into their rotation. Whaling sees these barriers as obstacles preventing further expansion of the industry.

Hemp’s Role in the National Economy

Lukas Gilkey from Hometown Hero CBD emphasized that hemp’s inclusion in the Ag Census highlights its growing role in the national economy. As demand for THC and CBD-based products derived from hemp continues to increase, Hometown Hero CBD aims to support farmers across Texas and throughout the country with their product offerings and national distribution efforts. Sales related to hemp-derived cannabinoids average more than $28 billion annually.

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In Texas specifically, 20 farms were cultivating hemp for fiber, according to state and county data provided by Gilkey of Hometown Hero CBD. With this new information available through the USDA Ag Census, policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders can better contribute to advancing federal regulation on hemp and capitalizing on the potential growth opportunities within the industry.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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