Since state lawmakers legalized the production of hemp earlier this year, Texas farmers now live on easy street: Toss some seeds in the soil, then kick back and wait for all that sweet CBD oil money to roll in. That is, of course, if you can survive in an erratic market with no baseline pricing, uncertainty in terms of preferred strains and cultivation standards, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller‘s recent comments that he’s considering requiring growers to have signed sales contracts for their crops before issuing them licenses to grow hemp – the nonpsychoactive form of cannabis.
Farmers who are contemplating a diversification into hemp cropping thus have a lot to consider. On Saturday, Oct. 19, a self-funded group called Texas Hemp Growers hosts a master class in Bastrop, 10am-4pm at the Hampton Inn’s Grand Ballroom (240 S. Hasler). The course aims to teach attendees the ins-and-outs of modern hemp cultivation, production, and sales.
Texas Hemp Growers President Zack Maxwell told the Chronicle that America’s hemp market still demands more biomass than is currently being produced by U.S. growers, but he stresses the need for farmers to find their buyers in advance of planting. For one thing, retail companies are looking for very specific phenotypes, including strains high in the minor cannabinoid CBG, which has a burgeoning market. Other buyers, he says, are avoidant of certain nutrients and soil additives, such as mycorrhizae (fungi that live symbiotically with plant root systems), used in the cultivation process. The class will also discuss volume – how much a farm should try to yield to get the best rate.
A version of this article appeared in print on October 18, 2019 with the headline: Are You Smart Enough for Hemp?