Hemp cultivation in Minnesota sees major growth spurt

Minnesota’s hemp crop has grown exponentially and the number of farmers cultivating the crop has increased sixfold as the state’s pilot program enters its second year.

This year, 42 farmers are growing hemp on roughly 2,100 acres, Minnesota’s Alpha News reported. That’s a huge increase from 2016, when Minnesota’s hemp cultivation program launched with seven farmers growing the low-THC plant on 37 acres.

Farmers who want to cultivate hemp must apply for a license with Minnesota’s agriculture department, which manages the state’s pilot program. The application must include:
  • A detailed growing plan
  • Information about the kind of research the crop will be used for
  • And background checks for the people who will be cultivating the crop.

The acceptance rate for applications is very high, said Andrea Vaubel, assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), although she didn’t have precise figures.

Farmers must get their hempseeds from the MDA, which required approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration to distribute the seeds. Hemp farmers must also file reports to the MDA about how they conducted operations like growing, harvesting, processing and selling the crop, according to Alpha News. And they must report about their results.

“We anticipate it’ll take a few years to make it a lucrative business, but we have a lot of folks who are really dedicated to this,” Vaubel told Alpha News.