The federal legalization of hemp cultivation in 2018 was first perceived as a great money-making opportunity by farmers across the United States. Many planted the crop in 2019, hoping to make a fortune, primarily by supplying hemp-derived CBD. Acreage dedicated to hemp farming reached record highs.
But demand did not materialize. Consumer packaged-goods giants like PepsiCo and big retailers like Walmart did not commit to CBD products due to FDA concerns regarding the ingredient’s safety in food and beverages. Since much of last year’s crop remained unsold, the market became oversaturated with hemp biomass  and prices collapsed.

The CBD market forecasts remain promising. Canaccord Genuity expects the U.S. CBD market to pass $18 billion by 2024, up from $1.9 billion in 2018. While there was a 9% decrease in licensed hemp acreage in 2020, grower numbers increased by almost 30%.

The cultivation of hemp is a complex endeavour involving a laborious process. A healthy crop depends on a painstaking spraying schedule to keep pests away, the harvest is by hand, and it needs to be carefully dried out before being sold. Hemp farmers also need to deal with suspicious law enforcement agents with a legal mandate to burn crops that exceed the permitted THC limit. About 50% of last year’s crop was not harvested due to crop failure, non-compliant crops, and other factors. Even if all is well, farmers need protection from thieves wanting to steal the crop to flip it back into the market as cannabis.

Hemp farmers need be smart and manage their risks by:

  1. Meticulously planning the harvest.
  2. Testing crop samples daily during the three weeks leading up to the harvest to avoid a “hot” crop with THC levels above the permitted threshold (0.3%). Better be on the safe side than late, even if the crop is harvested slightly earlier with a lower than optimal CBD potency.
  3. Confirm contracts for the harvested hemp with processing facilities.

To manage their risks, smart hemp farmers must equip themselves with an easy-to-use and affordable potency testing solution, providing results in real-time for crop monitoring and harvest decision-making. GemmaCert’s proven solution for potency analysis is a must-have risk-mitigation tool. GemmaCert’s wet flower analysis protocol enables farmers to test potency leading up the harvest. It also saves time and money on laboratory testing. Ultimately, the cost of a device pales in comparison to the financial disaster a farmer can face from a lost hemp crop.