Just a few days ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its final rule on hemp, two years after the 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized it for the first time in nearly half a century. This bill started a Hemp Revolution and contributed to the accelerating growth of the Cannabis Industry. Savvy entrepreneurs are seeking new ways to cash in on new markets and opportunities the bill created.
Before this bill, the old farm bill of 2014 allowed states to grow hemp when it was tied to research, but hemp and hemp-based products were still on the controlled substances list. It was legal to sell products made from hemp in the United States, but raw materials had to be imported from other countries. The United States was importing millions of dollars’ worth of hemp products each year, with hemp textiles coming in from China, food and seed from Canada, and industrials from Europe.
The legalization of hemp meant that this money can now go to American farmers and American companies. With this bill, hemp is considered an agricultural commodity just like corn or barley.
Harvesters can now ship large quantities to processors and manufacturers in all 50 states.
“This opens the floodgates for this industry to grow very rapidly,” says Bethany Gomez, director of research for Brightfield Group, a market research company in Chicago. Some experts predict that the industrial hemp industry will now hit $20 billion by 2022.
Hemp is a very important part of the cannabis family and it’s also one of the strongest natural fibers in the world. Hemp crops and raw hemp materials can be incorporated into a countless number of products, and hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crops.
Oil is just one of many possible uses for hemp. It’s also used to manufacture paper, clothing, plastics, textiles, and other products. This means that there are many great investment opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can utilize hemp, transform existing industries, and boost your profits.
1. Paper Products
The National Hemp Association says that an entire acre of hemp will produce as much paper as four acres of trees annually; and that this paper is biodegradable and naturally acid-free. Hemp will tolerate a wide variety of soils and temperatures, and you don’t have to wait a long time for hemp plants to grow. Hemp grows to maturity in three or four months, and you can harvest two or sometimes three crops a year, off of the same land; year after year. The world consumes around 400 million metric tons of paper each year, and consumers are demanding more hemp- and bio-based products. Hemp-based paper is such a great alternative because it doesn’t yellow, crack, or deteriorate like tree paper. The long, strong natural fibers of this plant make it ideal for producing everything from printer paper to cardboard packaging.
2. Textile Production
Between 20 and 30 percent of the hemp plant is fiber and this is excellent for textile production. Flax has long been the go-to product for textiles, but hemp has some advantages.
Textile Today, which is a comprehensive magazine for the Textile, Apparel, and Fashion Industries, provides an in-depth look into the steps required for hemp processing in textiles. They say that hemp can be made into a variety of fabrics, including high-quality linen. When blended with other materials such as cotton, linen, and silk, it provides a sturdier, longer-lasting product; while still maintaining quality and softness.
Hemp fibers have antibacterial properties: they are resistant to moths and other insects, they absorb dyes well, are more resistant to mold and mildew, and are highly resistant to ultraviolet light. Hemp is also a fabric that breathes; it’s cool in summer and warm in winter. These qualities make hemp a perfect material for producing breathable clothing for athletes, and its antibacterial properties can benefit the cloth baby diaper market, home furnishings market, and the medical textile and linen market.
Hemp also has piqued interest in the Fashion Industry. Famous designers, such as; Stella McCartney, Armani, Calvin Klein, Donatella Versace, Yves St. Laurent, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan, use hemp textiles in their collections. The Textile Industry should have many opportunities for everyone – farmers, processors, and manufacturers.
3. Molded Plastics
Hemp can also open the door to opportunities in the Plastics Industry. Hemp is being used to produce bio-composite plastics. As there is more demand to reduce plastic waste, companies are switching to organic hemp-based plastics because they are lighter, safer in accidents, recyclable, and more durable.
There are a number of products made from hemp plastics: musical instruments, home furnishings, jewelry, and toys. Hemp plastics are on the rise, and growing hemp in the United States will help meet increasing demands.
These are just three ways you can utilize hemp. There are also other opportunities with Beauty & Skin Care Products, Construction and Building Materials, Nutritional Supplements, Food Products, Beverages, Essential Oils, and Medicines.
Hemp seed can be made into oil or flour and even hemp beer has entered the Canadian market. Hemp meal can be used as a food ingredient for aquaculture farms because it’s a good nutrient source for freshwater fish and shrimp. Hemp flowers are excellent for cooking and can be added to a variety of recipes. The possibilities are endless.
Hemp is a definite money-maker, and the US legalization has started a revolution. The bans on hemp farming have been lifted, and savvy investors in the US are expanding their interest in hemp cultivation and hemp-based products. From its stalk to its seeds, this plant can be used for thousands of applications.
With this burgeoning growth, however, there are tight regulations, both at the state and federal levels. This is because there are distinct ways of growing and processing hemp when it’s used for food, fiber, or pharma products. This increases the need for reliable seed-to-sale software to record the inventory and movement of your products, and this will also help ensure that you’re staying compliant.
At MaxQ Technologies, we can help. By integrating your operations into one business management solution, you can automate and streamline all of your business functions. You’ll also have greater control and accountability over your entire operation. Please contact us today and we’ll provide the technology that will help you gain a strong foothold in this billion-dollar industry.