More than 20,000 farmers will receive the survey
By Diego Flammini
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is sending a new survey to some farmers.
Beginning Monday, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is sending 20,500 surveys to hemp farmers as part of the first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey.
This questionnaire will help USDA understand where hemp production in the U.S. stands since the 2018 Farm Bill established the Domestic Hemp Production Program.
“This inaugural hemp survey will establish a necessary benchmark and provide critically-needed data for the hemp industry,” NASS Acting Administrator Kevin Barnes said in an Oct. 13 statement. “The information collected can help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce. The resulting data will also foster greater understanding of the hemp production landscape across regulatory agencies, producers, state and Tribal governments, processors, and other key industry entities.”
This kind of transparency is important for the industry.
A detailed look at the hemp sector could lead to further investments, said Erin Williams, manager of Virginia’s industrial hemp program.
“Someone who's considering processing or investing in processing would use the kind of data that will be available after USDA survey results are out in order to make decisions about where they're going to place processing facilities,” she said, Radio IQ reported.
Hemp is a cannabis plant with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of 0.3 percent or lower.
Its uses include biofuel, food, paper and textiles.
Any plant with higher concentrations is considered marijuana and is a controlled substance under federal law.
Hemp production in the U.S. rose between 2016 and 2019.
Farmers produced hemp on 9,770 acres in 2016, 25,713 acres in 2017, 78,176 acres in 2018 and 511,441 acres in 2019, Vote Hemp, an organization dedicated to gaining acceptance of hemp as an ag crop, said in crop reports for those years.
But in 2020, there were only 336,655 acres licensed for production.
USDA will publish the results of its hemp survey on Feb. 17, 2022.
Farms.com has contacted hemp industry groups for comment.