by Rod Canterbury
Agricultural land investments have always been big business. Acre for acre, more than 40% of the country’s total land use is dedicated to agriculture. And the share of that land devoted to hemp quadrupled from 2018 to 2019, from 27,424 acres to 128,320 acres.
Hemp is nothing new, but interest in the crop grew substantially upon the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized hemp at the federal level. This key legislative win has led to a boom in hemp-related products, particularly formerly illegal ones like CBD.
Part of the cannabis family but not to be confused with marijuana, hemp is an industrially-driven, widely-used plant that is cultivated for its hurd, fiber, and seeds. And it’s nothing new. While it might seem like U.S. land investors only recently discovered this super plant, it’s actually thought to be the world’s first domestically-cultivated crop, with evidence of hemp fabric going back as far as 8,000 years ago in what was formerly known as Mesopotamia (now Turkey).
If you’re thinking of getting in on the hemp game, now might be the time. Here are a few convincing reasons why.
1. Growth Potential
The global industrial hemp market is expected to be worth $26.6 billion by 2025, up from $4.6 billion in 2019—a 141% surge. Compare that to a crop like soybeans, which is projected to grow just 4% to 5% between now and 2025. That level of growth could signify a major return on investment, especially if you get in early.
Hemp isn’t just used for groovy things like rope necklaces and CBD vape pens (though it is anticipated that CBD hemp oil will reign as the fastest growing segment in the industrial hemp market). The fiber of the hemp plant is used in a wide range of applications, including clothing, construction, and paper. Meanwhile, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are becoming increasingly popular ingredients in food, and are even being used to help treat and manage chronic illnesses.
With so many uses, expect the pool of buyers for hemp products to be equally diversified. And the larger the market pool for a crop, the more there is to gain.
3. It’s Not Taboo Any More
If you want to know why it took so long for hemp to become a crop powerhouse, look no further than the misconceptions that have stunted its growth. Because it’s from the cannabis plant, consumers, investors, and regulators have long associated hemp with marijuana, its mind-altering cousin. But hemp doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. And it’s not going to get anyone “high.”
These misconceptions were largely cleared up by the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill and the rapidly expanding CBD industry, and have led to a reputation management process of sorts for the crop. Today, people are a lot more likely to think paper products when you mention hemp, not drugs.
The demand for hemp has always been there—U.S. companies using hemp for industrial purposes have been importing it from China, Canada, and Europe for decades. But now, the opportunity is there too. Will you be one of the first to take advantage?
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