Hurricane Florence, now categorized as a Category 4, is growing in size and heading for the VIrginia and the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center is warning South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia of an oncoming “life-threatening storm surge,” “life-threatening freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event,” and “damaging hurricane-force winds.”
Industrial hemp farmers in the areas most likely to be hit by the storm are faced with the decision to harvest their crop months ahead of schedule, or keep it in the ground and risk losing it all. As Michael Gordon, CEO of Kush Marketplace, said, “The worst case scenario is unfolding for Hemp farmers located in the Carolinas.”
Even though most hemp farmers are operating under their state industrial hemp pilot programs that are recognized federally by the USDA, due to delays in passing the 2018 farm bill, hemp farmers are not yet covered by federal crop insurance programs or buoyed by USDA grants.
Thankfully, in order to foster the growth of a potential cash-cow industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an emergency ruling enabling farmers to pull their crops prior to test results being submitted to the state.
“We are not ready to harvest yet, however, the industrial hemp commission of NC has given us approval to harvest prior to testing” -Jerry Fuquay Richmond, NC Hemp Farmer
Unfortunately for farmers, pulling their crops early means will not only hurt total yields, but also decrease the CBD content of the crop due to an early end to the hemp plants’ flowering stage.
As hemp gets closer and closer to becoming a full-on agricultural commodity, storms like this will begin to swing market prices for the biomass and its CBD-rich extracts. The storm has already had an impact in some markets, and if hemp futures ever were to emerge, Hurricane Florence is the type of storm that would send prices skyrocketing.
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