The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a Texas-sized plan to regulate hemp in the Lone Star State Jan. 27. By the end of this month, the Texas Department of Agriculture will begin accepting applications to grow the crop. Demand is expected to be high this year.
The application window will open March 16.
“We’ve got a lot of manufacturers and processors coming into the state,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller told the Banner-Press. “Basically, it will be two types of processors—one will be CBD oil and the other for fiber. We’ve got both coming.”
But on the other side of that interest is a general wariness that comes from observing other hemp markets around the U.S., where oversupply has led to a price crash and harvest-season stress. Contracts have fallen apart. Buyers have disappeared in many cases. For those hemp growers who didn’t have a concrete plan in place for their hemp biomass, seeds and oil, late 2019 was tough. Hemp product languished in storage spaces, missing the market as biomass flooded the supply chain.
And with that comes the realization that 2020 is already awash in hemp supply, Calvin Trostle, a professor and agronomist at Texas A&M AgriLife, told the Austin Statesman. What’s left over from 2019 will, in some cases, be available for sale this year. That ripple effect will add another obstacle to Texas growers eager to wade into this new industry.
“Where we see some of the most compelling opportunities and applications for hemp are actually on the industrial side,” John Kagia, chief knowledge officer at New Frontier Data in Washington, D.C., told the Statesman. “Collectively, the diversity of applications for which hemp could be potentially used represents a very, very significant long-term economic opportunity.”