Kansas Begins Commercial Hemp Licensing Program

The Kansas Department of Agriculture started its first-ever commercial industrial hemp program Jan. 8 as part of an effort to expand a market that holds great financial potential.

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January 11, 2021

Kansas is seeking license applications until March 15, 2021, for producers to grow or cultivate hemp commercially. The state first developed a plan to govern the program in April 2020 in response to the 2018 Farm Bill that removed domestic hemp production restrictions.

The application requires a fingerprint-based state and federal criminal history check that must be completed no more than 30 days before the application is submitted. Producers must also pay a non-refundable $100 application fee and a $1,200 license fee if conditionally approved. Other relevant deadlines and fees, such as those for the criminal background check and sampling and testing, can be found in the application guidelines

Hemp's Financial Potential

The Kansas Department of Agriculture found in a September 2020 report that the hemp market accounted for nearly $4.5 million in revenue as growers harvested 832,950 pounds of hemp over 1,758 acres. These limited profits were due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of how to best grow the crop in the state, the report added.

However, Kansas estimates a significant increase in value for the state's hemp crops in the years ahead, with an annual value potentially rising to $22 million and a per-acre value far exceeding other more traditional crops, such as corn and soybeans.

RELATED: South Bend Industrial Hemp Plans Fiber Processing Facility in Kansas https://www.hempgrower.com/article/south-bend-industrial-hemp-fiber-plant-kansas/

For instance, the state estimates that floral hemp could return as much as $3,500 per acre in profits, with grain hemp worth $400 per acre and $150 per acre for fiber hemp. By comparison, sorghum has a net worth of $40 per acre, with corn worth $35 and soybeans worth $2 per acre, the report found.

But this projection and the crop's overall future depends on two factors, the report found.

First, there needs to be an improvement in hemp yields in the coming years, and the state is not sure at this point whether that will happen or how quickly it will take place. Another factor is the future demand for hemp and the likelihood of farmers finding somewhere to sell their crops once harvested. This projection focuses on the demand for CBD products derived from floral hemp that has, by far, the greatest per-acre value. The market would also benefit from additional uses for hemp grain, such as animal feed, the study added.

RELATED: Hemp’s Potential in the Animal Feed Market https://www.hempgrower.com/article/hemp-animal-feed-grain-production/

While the crop's future is uncertain, pending more time and data to study the issue, the state does see a lot of promise financially. "As growing practices become clearer and the market stabilizes, it appears hemp may become a profitable crop for Kansas growers," the report concluded. "Floral hemp can be an expensive crop to grow but also has the potential to generate much larger revenues than other traditional Kansas crops."