In preparation for the National Hemp Research and Education Conference held last summer, Dr. Shelby Ellison from the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a survey of licensed hemp growers from across the United States. The survey was looking to identify education and research needs the hemp community felt were needed. Yesterday Dr. Ellison shared an overview of the survey results on our weekly Webinar Wednesday.

There were some interesting stats such as almost 65% of the respondents had been farming longer than 10 years but only 40% of them had grown hemp for more than one year. Almost all of them were growing for CBD.

Measuring someone’s frustration or pain points can tell a lot and this survey was no different. When asked what their biggest challenges were, two issues rose to the top: 1) lack of risk mitigation in case a crop was hot and 2) access to markets. Not too surprising.

When asked the largest financial or economic barriers, the biggest concerns were seed costs and labor costs.

Guess where over 90% of the people got information about how to grow hemp? The internet and by word of mouth.

Here’s why we are encouraged by this not-so-great news:

– We are focused on pooling the resources of the co-op for all kinds of insurance (health, life, property/casualty as well as crop insurance). Membership will have its privileges.

– Access to markets is our middle name. Every day we are pitching and talking and investigating all sorts of value-added uses for our hemp growers. Just this week we’ve been working on biocrude oil, biodiesel, pellets, biochar and bio plastics. Can you see the “fiber pattern”?

– Seed costs for CBD can be expensive (sometimes $2,300 a pound). Most of the time CBD flowers are harvested by hand and it makes it very expensive.

But seed and labor costs for fiber production are far less than CBD production inputs which means the NHGC’s efforts in the “fiber pattern” space might relieve some of the worries of our members.

Whether our members have been growing for decades or are just beginning NHGC continues to find markets, reduce risk and keep costs down.