New Report Reveals Over Half of the Hemp Flower Grown in America is Produced in California

New Report Reveals Over Half of the Hemp Flower Grown in America is Produced in California

The findings from a Department of Agriculture’s Census show that, despite the all-out assault on the nation’s hemp industry, there are significant pockets of substantial expansion for the beleaguered market.

In a week that saw New York hemp companies file suit against the state in federal court, challenging its new, more restrictive hemp rules, as well as the passage of a controversial bill in Florida that would enact harsh bans on several popular and lucrative intoxicating hemp derivatives, like delta-8 THC, there is more positive news for hemp advocates and stakeholders from the nation’s largest agricultural producer – California.

According to numerous media outlets, a new Census of Agriculture report by the Department of Agriculture shows that California led the nation in hemp flower acreage and production in 2022. The report reveals that Alameda County, California, cultivated more hemp flower during that year than any other county in the U.S., with a robust 5.5 million pounds. 

In 2022, hemp farms in California’s Central Valley, including Fresno and Tulare counties, produced close to 20% of domestically grown floral hemp, or hemp cultivated for its cannabinoid-rich flower.

Overall, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1,800 American farms covering approximately 10,500 acres produced over 11 million pounds of hemp flower in 2022. Of that total, California cultivated 56% of all U.S. hemp flower, which is used in the extraction of CBD along with other cannabinoids, including intoxicating hemp derivatives (IHDs) like THC. 

In addition to floral hemp production, the USDA also keeps track of hemp fiber, grain, and seed cultivation. However, most hemp farms and acreage are dedicated to growing flower over all other types of hemp combined.

Likewise, while the lion’s share of California’s 6.3 million pounds of cultivated hemp flower was grown in just three counties, hemp farms are located across the state. For example, in Imperial County, located along the state’s southern border, farmers harvested 12,000 pounds of hemp flower. Close to 9,000 pounds were also produced in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles. Other active hemp farms can be found in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties, known as the Emerald Triangle, for its rich and colorful history of cannabis cultivation.

However, California is not the only prolific producer of hemp flower in the United States. According to the USDA report, Saguache County, Colorado, was the third-largest grower of floral hemp in 2022, producing 360,000 pounds of hemp flower. The county is responsible for 80% of all hemp flower cultivated in Colorado, which ranked fourth in the U.S. for total production. 

Other notable areas of significant production include Jackson County, Oregon, near the California border, which produced nearly 200,000 pounds of flower. However, one of the more surprising results of the survey came from the traditionally conservative Bluegrass State of Kentucky.

While Kentucky ranked 25th in total gross receipts from all farming activity in 2022, well behind the number one-ranked behemoth of California, the state’s farmers cultivated 1.8 million pounds of hemp flower during that year, exceeding the totals generated by the more cannabis-friendly states of Colorado and Oregon.

This type of detailed, granular county-level reporting marks the first time the USDA’s Census of Agriculture has included hemp data since the plant was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. The data provides a deeper and more robust understanding of where low-THC cannabis is grown in the U.S. As a result, industry growers and stakeholders are lauding its inclusion in this latest Ag Census report.