Past and Present Lessons Can Make a Brighter Future for Hemp

Departments - From the Editor

Farmers can learn from past seasons and companies overseas to make this the best harvest yet.

September 11, 2020

The first legal harvest season last year under the 2018 Farm Bill was, for many, framed by lessons learned. As we enter the second legal harvest season, many of you have applied those lessons and are on your way to a more successful post-harvest season.

Of course, challenges remain. (Marguerite Bolt covers “The Top 5 Business Challenges Hemp Growers Face” and tips for addressing them in From the Field.) But considering the U.S. industry’s infancy, hurdles are to be expected, and as we surmount each one, we can begin to look to the future.

While the path may not be an easy one, we shouldn’t forget that it has been traversed by others worldwide. And the U.S. hemp industry can learn from those before it on this journey.

This is a significant reason Hemp Grower is featuring HempFlax BV, a world leader in hemp production and processing, as this issue’s cover story. The company illustrates hemp’s great potential, and it offers smart lessons in the value of diversifying product lines, not only in hemp end products, but also beyond (the company developed harvesting attachments for John Deere combines. Check out the story.)

It also exemplifies true entrepreneurial spirit and passion and the “I’ll prove you wrong” attitude that so many successful business owners possess. As HempFlax CEO Mark Reinders comments in the cover story, “… a lot of people told [HempFlax founder Ben Dronkers] … that hemp will never become an industrial crop [again]. So, … he founded HempFlax to prove to those people that they were wrong. And now, 25 years later, I think he succeeded in proving his [point].”

I believe hemp has a bright future in the U.S. and globally, especially as environmental concerns escalate and interest grows in hemp as a renewable and sustainable source that can serve many industries. (In 1938, Popular Mechanics reported that hemp “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ... from dynamite to Cellophane.”)

Will the industry suffer a few battle scars? Of course. But each scar will reflect valuable lessons learned, as the first year of legal hemp in the U.S. showed us.

I look forward to watching this industry grow quickly and dramatically, and to your businesses reaching their full potential. Hemp Grower will continue to do its part to help ensure that happens.

Happy harvesting.