corn for ethanol

Corn, Wheat, and Soy Farmers Integrate Industrial Hemp into Their Crop Rotations

The crops that big agriculture has relied on for generations are inviting a new opportunity to the table: industrial hemp.

After the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers started to do test plots of hemp to see if it was a viable opportunity.

At first, many of them fell on their faces.

Why Did Hemp Fail in 2019 & 2020?

The first thing farmers learned the hard way was that CBD and industrial hemp are completely different crops.

Here are some of the key differences between industrial hemp and CBD.

After the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD companies went to farmers and marketed themselves as “industrial hemp.” They told these farmers that they could make upwards of $50,000 per acre.

The following year, there were about 500,000 acres of CBD grown in America. Most failed.

A Brief History of Industrial Hemp

Fortunately, the benefits of industrial hemp farming have been well recorded over thousands of years.

Some of the economies that have seen successful use of industrial hemp include China, Europe, and Canada. The success of industrial hemp in farming and manufacturing can be seen across the world. But, in America, industrial hemp is still a relatively new crop. Or, is it?

As we look back at American history, we can see that industrial hemp was very popular before it was banned in the 1930s.

  • The USDA said that industrial hemp will continue to be one of the staple agricultural crops in the United States in 1916.
  • The first American flag was made from hemp fibers.
  • Hemp rope was used on the Mayflower in the 1600s and was used as early as 1500 BC by the Egyptians.
  • The first recorded use of hemp was in 8000 BC in China for clothing, rope, fish netting, and paper.

Industrial hemp did not just pop up after the 2018 farm bill. Over the past 10,000 years, hemp has been successfully grown and used in nearly every marketplace.

Upon deeper research, we can see that it was mandated in colonial America that farmers grow industrial hemp. There is a long history of hemp that is not taught in the textbooks of American and World History classes.

Where Is There Demand for Industrial Hemp Today?

Corn, wheat, and soy have been the cash crops that farmers have relied upon for generations. Farmers know that they can get $200-$600 in revenue per acre if they farm these crops. They know this because there are pre-established markets for corn, wheat, and soy that have existed for generations.

Many farmers have resisted industrial hemp because they do not see a market for it here in America. Up until this point, they have been correct.

The team at Heartland has worked to create the demand for hemp in the manufacturing sector. Their model is to buy hemp from farmers, process it, and then ship it out to be used as plastic additives.

These plastic additives replace fiberglass, talc, calcium carbonate, and other additives that are commonly found in plastics.

Heartland is engineering its hemp materials specifically for polymers. Polymers are the plastics, foams, and rubbers that are commonly used by manufacturers today. By adding Heartland’s hemp materials to their plastics, manufacturers can easily create stronger, lighter, cheaper, and more sustainable products.

How Industrial Hemp Crops Positively Impact Farmers

Heartland is working with farmers in the Midwest on a contract basis. Our team is providing the standard operating procedures that are necessary to grow a successful industrial hemp crop. This will ensure farmers that they are able to successfully grow industrial hemp in their first year.

Here are just a few of the benefits farmers can expect if they work with industrial hemp:

  • Industrial hemp crops can yield more revenue per acre than traditional crops like corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Industrial hemp can enhance soil health by sucking up toxins and making nitrogen-rich soil.
  • Industrial hemp can reduce the need for synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
  • Industrial hemp can help farmers reduce the need for water usage.
  • Industrial hemp sequesters more carbon dioxide per acre than any other crop.
  • Industrial hemp crops have been shown to increase the yields of other plants that are grown on the same acreage the following year.
  • Industrial hemp is a resilient crop that can withstand a range of temperatures and extreme wind.

These are just a few of the benefits that farmers will see if they decide to farm industrial hemp. As regenerative agriculture becomes more commonplace, farmers will be looking to use industrial hemp to increase biodiversity and enrich the soil. By growing industrial hemp, farmers will be able to reduce the use of materials that consistently cut into profits like fertilizer, water, herbicides, and pesticides. Heartland expects long-term partnerships with farmers that will advance sustainable practices, including the adoption of regenerative farming practices in the near future. Heartland is committed to working alongside our partners to recognize, act, and advance a more sustainable future.

Farmers that are focused on 2-3 crops per year can use 10%-30% of their acreage to grow a reliable crop of industrial hemp. Heartland is actively creating the standard operating procedures necessary to ensure farmers that their industrial hemp crops will see success.

The farmers that have been focused on traditional goods like corn, wheat, and soy finally have a crop that they can transition into without a huge risk. As the fifth industrial revolution starts to take shape, manufacturers are starting to rethink how they approach sustainability. An industrial hemp supply chain gives manufacturers access to carbon-negative materials that they can use to reduce the cost, weight, and carbon footprint of products.

Because Heartland has built up so much demand from customers, farmers can rest assured that their crops will have a buyer when harvest starts in August and September.

As industrial hemp becomes more popular on farms around America, farmers will want to make sure that they have a buyer for the product. As Heartland continues to expand their Michigan supply chain, they are looking for other farmers across the nation that are interested in growing industrial hemp crops for years to come.

If you’re a farmer that sees themselves growing hemp in the next few years, please fill out the contact form below so that our team can discuss the opportunity with you.

Join us in making a world out of hemp.

Heartland Team