According to data that was released in 2019 by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the states that grow the most industrial hemp are Montana, Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The USDA is responsible for the regulatory oversight of hemp cultivation in the U.S. The Agricultural Act of 2018 paved the way for the cultivation of large qualities of hemp throughout the U.S. That being said, hemp cultivation is still regulated and potential hemp farmers need to be licensed before getting started. Each state sets its own rules and regulations on how hemp is cultivated within its borders. Currently, it is illegal to cultivate hemp in three states in the U.S.
Each state has also allocated a certain amount of acreage for hemp cultivation. This has been increasing from 2018 when hemp was legalized at a federal level. The amount of land that was allocated to hemp farming in Kentucky increased three-fold in 2019, and altogether the amount of land that was cultivated for hemp quadrupled in 2019.
So far, the states that are leading in issuing hemp cultivation licenses are:
- New York
- North Carolina
Once hemp cultivation licenses are issued, farmers will determine how much hemp to cultivate. In 2019, the following five states legally cultivated the most industrial hemp:
1. Industrial Hemp Cultivation in Montana
Montana is the leader in hemp cultivation in the U.S. In total, about 51,000 acres were covered in hemp in 2019. This number includes both small-scale and large-scale farmers. Farmers in Montana have not shied away from experimenting with this relatively new crop for varied reasons. While some are looking for supplemental income, others are using hemp to improve soil conditions through crop rotation.
2. Industrial Hemp Cultivation in Colorado
Colorado is known for its cannabis-friendly culture. This state has adopted a similar approach to cannabis sativa sp cultivation, which is a cousin to marijuana. As of now, Colorado is the second-largest hemp cultivator in the U.S.
Compared to Kentucky, which issued more cultivation licenses, Colorado has more hemp acreage, more hemp farmers, and a more robust hemp market.
3. Industrial Hemp Cultivation in Oregon
Oregon has a vibrant industrial hemp economy. This includes hemp farmers, processors, and buyers. As of 2019, Oregon was the third-largest producer of industrial hemp in the U.S.
The laws on industrial hemp in Oregon are stringent. Farmers are required to subject their products to tests in order to ensure that they are of food-grade quality, meaning they are without pesticides and other contaminants.
4. Industrial Hemp Cultivation in Kentucky
As of 2019, Kentucky is the fourth-largest producer of industrial hemp in the U.S.
Kentucky farmers have many things going for them when it comes to hemp cultivation. To begin with, the climate in this region is very suitable for hemp farming. The hemp laws and regulations are friendly, and the state has even invested in an adequate hemp processing infrastructure. This is evidenced by their inventory of hemp fiber decorticates and CBD extractors. Last year the state allotted a total of 12,800 acres for hemp farming. Kentucky also has a robust economy that could meet the demand for industrial hemp products.
5. Industrial Hemp Production in Tennessee
Tennessee is the fifth largest producer of industrial hemp in the U.S. Although the state microclimate is not favorable for most hemp strains, farmers have tried to experiment with mold-resistant cultivars that can withstand the high rainfall. The laws in this state are favorable for hemp farmers.
Where Is It Legal To Grow Industrial Hemp In The US?
Industrial hemp can be grown in all but three states in the U.S., and they are Idaho, South Dakota and Missouri.