Starting a hemp business offers a lot of profit-earning potential. But it isn’t as simple as ordering hemp seeds and land. The legalization of hemp at the tail end of 2018 was historical. And as historical as it is, it also highlights a key difficulty for growing a hemp business: lack of research and best practices for cultivation.
So where does one begin?
Here, where both the benefits and risks of starting a hemp business are clearly laid out.
Growing CBD hemp and industrial hemp (there’s a difference) can be especially complicated thanks to federal limits on THC levels in the plants. And preventing spikes in THC levels requires patience and experience.
Advantages of Working in the Hemp Industry
The hemp side of the cannabis industry could yield up to $16 billion in sales by 2025. And that’s a lump sum estimate of all the current possibilities thanks to its versatility for consumption, wellness, and beauty.
That means there are many options where one can get started with their business. Despite the variety in profit-earning options, some prove to be more advantageous than others. So before considering a dream of “overnight success,” choose to stay grounded and review what can be expected for the return-on-investment (ROI).
To start, industrial hemp produces hemp grain, which can bring in about $200-$300 per acre, and hemp fiber, coming in around $480 per acre. Industrial hemp, though, is a separate beast from CBD hemp—and CBD hemp offers the highest profit out of the two. CBD hemp biomass offers the possibility of earning $52,5000 per acre.
Plus, hemp as a crop has low environmental impact thanks to its phytoremediation capacity. So it won’t contribute to the already toxic landscape of the United States. For clarification, phytoremediation is the process in which plants absorb toxins from the earth and groundwater.
Hemp’s a sellable option for helping to extract heavy metals like lead, cadmium, magnesium, and others from the many toxic areas in the US. The flip side to this is that hemp is no longer ingestible thanks to the absorption of those dangerous contaminants.
Risks of Working in Hemp
There’s a lot to be earned with hemp, but awareness of the risks is crucial for long-term success in the business. To start, though the plant is federally legal, the USDA has very stringent rules when it comes to “hot crops.”
Hot crops are hemp crops that contain more than 0.3% THC. And once the plant tests above the maximum THC threshold, none of it can be salvaged. Sadly, it must all be thoroughly destroyed by an authorized controlled substance agent.
Adding to the potential stress of this is that it’s not entirely clear how to fully prevent spikes in THC levels. Unpredictable weather from unstable temperatures, droughts, floods, and even high elevation levels could use a spike.
On top of harvesting hemp with legal THC levels, there’s also the matter of drying the plants. In the case of Oregon growers, many lack a drying space on their farms to harvest hemp. This can lead to moldy hemp, which has less potent CBD and is less valuable.
Compounding this loss is the fact that hemp is a labor-intensive crop. Other than the tight window to harvest for the utmost quality, the battle against pests is far more meticulous compared to corn and hay. For example, corn earworms require individual attention. The pest must be picked off each hemp plant. This level of detail requires investing in substantial labor, which could cost up to $20,000 per day for your hemp business.
Growing hemp can cost from $8,000 to $20,000 per acre—excluding harvesting. There are many inexperienced hemp farmers facing these costly realities. There’s a lot of money involved with a startup, and there’s a lack of buyers as prices continue to dive downward.
Hemp business consultation services can help mitigate the overwhelm of such a new industry. Reach out to Fortuna Hemp before ordering seeds to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Strategies to Minimize Risk and Increase Hemp Crop Profitability
For a successful cannabis hemp business, here are 6 key factors to keep in mind:
Only Buy Feminized Hemp Seeds From Reputable Seed Banks
This guarantees no male seeds in one’s own business crop: pollination isn’t good for growing CBD-potent hemp for extraction. And while male hemp plants are okay for industrial hemp production, there’s an increased risk of growing hot crops, which will need to be destroyed. Review the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all seeds for a clear outline of each strain’s cannabinoid levels.
Minimize Plant Stressors
Again, accidental cross-pollination with male hemp or even a neighbor’s marijuana plants could lead to hot crops. A low elevation isn’t ideal and it helps to choose the right soil. If local weather fluctuates often, it’s worth considering a different location for cultivation.
Grow In A Greenhouse If Possible
This makes it easier to control fickle stressors like weather, light, and pests. And when growing different strains, it’s good to separate grows to prevent any unintentional interbreeding of premium hemp strains. The additional cost means less effort and stress to keep THC levels down for harvesting.
Start Small When Starting Your Hemp Business.
Admittedly, there is little information about hemp farming, and whole crops can be lost (without insurance, as well) from errors at any point in cultivating and harvesting process. Many new hemp farmers prematurely dove into the new industry but lack of experience has cost them thousands because they started their dreams too big.
Have Buyers Lined Up Before Planting a Single Seed
Prices have dropped substantially for hemp, and many farmers are sitting on crops that they refuse to sell for such low returns. And given how fast potency declines between harvesting and drying, it’s best to have someone lined up as soon as possible. Otherwise, the hemp will start to mold and continually drop in value.
Hire A Cannabis Hemp Business Expert
Fortuna offers a hemp consulting service with a free consultation. Rates after the initial meeting are affordable and on-demand any time you require.
Takeaways Regarding the Cannabis Hemp Business
Starting a cannabis hemp business is exciting and requires a lot of awareness for success. It isn’t the easiest crop to grow, requiring a close eye-to-detail and individual care for potent harvests that don’t exceed 0.3% THC. But with the right knowledge, equipment and even help from Fortuna’s hemp farming consulting services, growing profit in hemp is a very real reality.
Ready to launch a cannabis hemp business? Head to the Fortuna feminized hemp seeds shop to select the best premium hemp strains.
And remember to have a buyer before planting the first seed. Start with a free initial consultation with Fortuna’s hemp cultivation consulting services for a successful business.