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The Growth of Hemp Farming in America

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States hemp industry has seen a tremendous boom in productivity, which is particularly true for the 24 states that were actively growing hemp as of 2018. In fact, the total American surface area used for hemp production reached 78,176 acres, up from 25,713 the year before (2017) and 9,649 the year before that (2016).

Vote Hemp has compiled this information and issued an annual Hemp Crop Report since 2016, documenting the licensed cultivation of hemp in the United States. The hemp cultivation data was provided by the states’ departments of agriculture. In 2018, Vote Hemp contacted each of the 41 states that were authorized for hemp production.

In addition, the organization estimates that roughly 70% of the licensed acreage was planted, while in terms of indoor-planted hemp, they considered every 40,000 square foot area equal to one acre. It is, however, important to mention that these annual reports don’t mention the amount of hemp that’s been harvested.

In any case, five additional states have started growing hemp in 2018. These are:

  • Illinois, 1 acre
  • Massachusetts, 21 acres
  • Oklahoma, 445 acres
  • South Carolina, 256 acres
  • Wisconsin, 1,850 acres

In terms of top hemp-producing states, however, we have Colorado, which went from 9,700 planted hemp acres in 2017 to 21,578 in 2018. Montana, on the other hand, had only 542 hemp acres planted in 2017 and spiked to over 22,000 in 2018.

In terms of licensed hemp acres, Colorado currently has about 80,000, up 562% from 2017 when the state had licensed 12,042. Oregon has had a whopping 700% increase from 2017 with 51,000 outdoor acres licensed, up from 7,800 acres the year prior.

The Data Is Still Coming In

Due to the relatively new state of the hemp industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) still doesn’t have accurate acreage reports. Expectations are that this information will be available sometime in the future.

President of Vote Hemp, Eric Steenstra, said that this information is essential for the future of the industry. “Quantifying what people are investing in the industry data has been critical to advancing hemp policy and advancing the industry.” 

He also went on to say, “Now that we have lifted federal prohibition on hemp farming, it’s time to invest our energy in expanding hemp cultivation and the market for hemp products across the country so that all can reap the benefits of this versatile, historic American crop.”

It’s important to note that hemp production is likely to increase by a significant margin in 2019, given the fact that hemp and hemp-derived CBD products have been removed from the Controlled Substances Act. This means that farmers and producers will be eligible for crop insurance, farm loans, and all other types of federally-backed assistance programs.

What’s To Be Expected in 2019 and Beyond?

Since the data is still coming in, there’s no exact way of knowing what to expect from the hemp farming industry in the coming years. Some farmers, however, expect a high influx of new competitors.

Hemp-derived CBD sales are expected to rise in the coming five years by anywhere in between $6.1 billion and $7.5 billion. These do not include sales of hemp grain and fiber products. The global industrial hemp market is expected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $26.6 billion by 2025.

If you want to keep yourself informed on the state of the hemp market, please feel free to visit the Root Origins website, follow us on social media or email us at