While the politicians drag their feet farmers aren’t wasting time learning about the possibilities of hemp production.
Around 100 farmers interested in growing hemp as a cash crop gathered Wednesday in Barron County. Some say they’re considering planting test plots as early as next year, just months after lawmakers lifted a ban on the crop.
The meeting room at the Barron County Government Center was nearly filled for a presentation by Minnesota hemp farmer John Strohfus who began growing hemp in 2016, a year after Minnesota legalized it’s production.
He talked about sourcing seeds, harvesting and marketing hemp products just weeks after Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill legalizing it’s production in Wisconsin. Strohfufs said he’s been getting at least two calls a day from Wisconsin farmers who have heard about hemp bringing more profit than traditional crops.
“I’m hopeful that the excitement is not generated by a false sense of opportunity financially,” said Strohfus. “I think hemp can be a good cash crop, can certainly be better than corn, and can be competitive or higher than soybeans at current prices.”
Strohfus said while the Wisconsin hemp bill was being considered, some testimony claimed farmers could make upwards of $1,000 per acre planted. He said that’s unrealistic. Strohfus said profits of $200 to $300 per acre are achievable though, which places hemp’s profitability ahead of corn and in line with what farmers can get per acre on soybeans.