Hemp is a versatile plant that is grown all over the world. In the United States, hemp is commonly cultivated in Northern California, Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont and Oregon. However, many other states are also home to hemp farms. Hemp is an annual plant that grows best in sandy loam soil with good drainage and requires an average monthly rainfall of at least 65 mm (2.5 in).
When grown for fiber, hemp plants are densely planted and reach an average height of 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) with almost no branching. On the other hand, when grown for oilseeds, hemp plants are planted further apart and are shorter and more branched. To maximize yield and quality, hemp should be harvested shortly after the plants reach maturity, indicated by full flowering and pollen-free shedding of male plants. Hemp is usually cut about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the ground.
The regulatory status of state and tribal hemp programs can be found on the AMS hemp production website. Hemp (Cannabis sativa Linn) is a species of the Cannabaceae family with a very low level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as per the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Although all three products (hemp, marijuana and hashish) contain THC, a compound that produces psychoactive effects on humans, the cannabis strain cultivated for hemp contains only small amounts of THC compared to that grown for marijuana or hashish production. Farmers must meet the standard eligibility conditions for direct payments as well as additional requirements specific to hemp to ensure that no illicit crop receives any aid from the CAP.
The report also contains additional information on the characteristics of hemp growers, including the years in which a farm operates, age and breed. The civil dialogue group on arable crops, which covers the cotton, flax and hemp sectors, allows the Commission to maintain a regular dialogue with interested parties on all issues related to fibrous crops, including hemp. Growers can now grow hemp if they meet certain requirements or if they do so in accordance with an approved state or tribal hemp production plan. In 2020, 54,152 acres of industrial hemp were grown outdoors for all uses in the United States.
Licensed hemp growers must report their planted area along with their license number to their local FSA office. Under both programs, hemp will be insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations, applicable state or tribal laws and the terms of the crop insurance policy. The legality of growing hemp changes rapidly and so does the number of places where it is grown. Hemp can also be used as an alternative to wood pulp in some cases; it is frequently used in papermaking and is a sustainable alternative to fiberglass insulation in buildings.
EU countries may decide to grant voluntary joint aid (VCS) to farmers who grow hemp under certain conditions.