How To Grow Hemp For CBD, Seed Or Fiber

Hemp is the belle of the crop ball with farmers lined up for a chance to dance

Hemp is the belle of the crop ball in 2019, with farmers lined up for a chance to dance—but desire does not necessarily translate to know-how. From seed to harvest to processing, U.S. growers are asking a litany of hemp questions.

The year of hemp jubilee has arrived, roughly 80 years after Uncle Sam locked the maligned cannabis variety in the federal attic. American farmers can officially play the hemp game—so says the 2018 farm bill—and for prospective growers facing a chain of hemp management questions, invaluable answers are found in fellow farmers’ fields. Whether seed, fiber or cannabidiol (CBD), hemp growers share a colossal commonality: They are all learning on the go.

“Everybody wants to know how to farm hemp,” says Joseph Sisk, “but they don’t realize that everyone already growing hemp does it differently.”

Located in western Kentucky’s Christian County, Sisk, 45, grows 5,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat. For the last three years, alongside farming partner Todd Harton, Sisk has grown hemp exclusively for CBD, a highly desired extract of cannabis and present darling of the hemp industry. By 2022, the overall CBD market value is projected to approach $2 billion, according to New Frontier Data, with $646 million of the total exclusive to hemp-derived CBD.

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