While falling hemp prices make farmers eligible for COVID loans, industry keeps silver linings

While falling hemp prices make farmers eligible for COVID loans, industry keeps silver linings

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has made a major impact on many sectors of the market, but new reports cast doubt on whether farmers over-planted industrial hemp in the past year.

While some range in attitude between claiming the hemp craze was a total bust and laying the blame at the feet of the disease outbreak, we can all be sure hemp could be doing better. Still, there are important factors to keep in mind that can put the situation into clearer context and offer hope for the hemp industry.

For one, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current benefits program says all agricultural products which have dropped 5% or more can receive emergency coronavirus aid, but hemp prices have fallen nearly 50% since January.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and response has wreaked havoc on hemp farming, resulting in significant disruption to the industry," the U.S. Hemp Roundtable said in a letter to the USDA, according to Law360. [1]

That means vulnerable farmers may be able to recoup some of their lost revenues, if not their initial capital investments and the time spent planting and harvesting.

The story isn’t over for CBD and industrial hemp overall. For one, far from enough people in the population have even encountered CBD products for the demand to match current planting levels.

Gallup released survey results in the summer of 2019 that indicated that one of every seven Americans over 18 have tried CBD.

The largest age group to use CBD products are those between the ages of 18 and 29, 20% of whom use CBD. People grow less familiar with hemp and CBD products if they are older, the results show.

Compared to say, caffeine, those results reflect drastically low exposure rates even if it they were encouraging to the hemp market at the time. [4]

So there are the facts. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect across the gamut of industries, and hemp is no exception.

But silver linings are there, too, and with federal assistance possibly around the corner and a wide market of folks that could still hear about the wonder products, this crop isn’t done yet.

A staggering 35% of Americans have never heard of CBD, which so many in the U.S. use for chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy and a list of other issues to avoid falling into dependence on potentially harmful and often expensive prescription drugs.

Awareness of CBD and its benefits is the lowest in those over 65, where 49% of people have never heard about the compound and its benefits, Gallup says.


[1] https://www.law360.com/articles/1277789/hemp-price-collapse-meets-bar-for-covid-19-aid-usda-told

[2] https://www.yahoo.com/news/hemp-supposed-boost-farmers-turned-103035411.html

[3] https://leaderpost.com/cannabis-news/how-come-hemp-is-not-the-economic-saviour-everyone-expected/wcm/a9935879-bb36-4681-8028-e505b9167ce5

[4] https://www.nothingbuthemp.net/post/new-polls-show-cbd-use-has-reached-1-in-7-american-adults