Hemp Grows in Popularity

Hemp Grows in Popularity

“With over 300 hundred licenses already issued, 7,000 acres planted and over 6 million square feet in greenhouse production, hemp is poised to be a huge crop in New Mexico,” said Brad Lewis, Division Director, of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.  Lewis was testifying at the interim meeting of the New Mexico Legislative Economic and Rural Development Committee, July 1stin Las Cruces. Interest was high among legislators who see this as a crop that can bring economic development to the state. “I’m excited about the growth of the hemp industry near my district,” says Willie Madrid (D), Doña Ana and Otero. “This will create jobs in the area as well as bring a new crop to this region which is known for its agricultural production.”

The potential for growth is there since demand for hemp is high. “Hemp imports to the United States—consisting of hemp seeds and fibers often used as inputs for use in further manufacturing—totaled $67.3 million in 2017,” according to the Congressional Research Service 2018 publication, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity.  Hemp is fascinating for the general public as evidenced by the hosting of a Hemp Fiesta in Albuquerque, August 10that the Balloon Park.  New Mexico counties are doing their part as they pass regulations intended to help growers.   According to the El Defensor Chieftain, “Socorro County Ordinance 2019-01, an ‘Ordinance Licensing & Regulating Hemp Growth and Prohibiting the use of Non-Feminized Hemp Seeds and Plant,’ would promote the cultivation of feminized hemp plants, a source of CDB oil.”

Is hemp right for you? Colorado State University Extension has some assessment guidelines that help you consider elements of price, production, legal, financial, and human risk before jumping in.