Minnesota Sees Stability in a Volatile Hemp Industry

Minnesota Sees Stability in a Volatile Hemp Industry
Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[Over the past couple years, many states across the country have seen a drop in the number of licensed hemp producers as oversupply stifles production and hurts prices.But one state where interest has held steady is Minnesota. In 2019, the state licensed 353 hemp growers and 214 processors.By 2021, the number of growers remained nearly the same at 348, while the number of processors jumped to 247.That interest has translated to acreage. In 2021, Minnesota farmers harvested the third-most amount of hemp–2,300 acres–than producers anywhere else in the country.RELATED: Colorado and Montana Top Lists of Most Hemp Acres Planted and Harvested in 2021Katy Mutschler, the hemp program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), attributes much of the interest in hemp to the state’s natural resources. “I just think Minnesota has really great farmland,” Mutschler says.But beyond that, the MDA has been working to create not only a regulatory environment conducive to growing hemp, but also opportunities for the industry to expand beyond cannabinoid production.“We try to support our growers in any way possible,” Mutschler says.Easy-Going GrowingMinnesota’s first year of licensing was 2016, when the state licensed a total of six growers. That number remained relatively low until interest exploded in 2019.Mutschler says Minnesota was the first state to receive hemp plan approval from the USDA following the issuance of the final rule on hemp. The state took advantage of some of the final rule’s flexibilities, like remediation for “hot” crops that test above 0.3% THC, as well as random and risk-based sampling.The risk-based sampling allows experienced producers who grow certain varieties to take samples themselves. “We had three total take their own samples last year, but it went really smoothly,” Mutschler says.On the remediation front, producers whose hemp tests above 0.3% THC but below 1% THC can either separate…

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