Economic prospects of KS hemp assessed

Lack of Kansas-specific knowledge about growing hemp and modest opportunity to market the plant’s fiber for manufacturing and grain for flour are limiting financial return for Kansas farmers working with the alternative crop, state auditors said Wednesday.

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September 3, 2020 - 9:40 AM

TOPEKA — Lack of Kansas-specific knowledge about growing hemp and modest opportunity to market the plant’s fiber for manufacturing and grain for flour are limiting financial return for Kansas farmers working with the alternative crop, state auditors said Wednesday.

Auditors with the Kansas Legislature released a report to a joint House and Senate committee indicating hemp could become a more profitable crop in Kansas depending on harvest yields, development of markets for hemp fiber and grains and future demand of CBD products. The analysis for 2019 was hampered by lack of statewide data on hemp production costs and sales prices in Kansas.

The analysis relied on findings of Tyler Mark, an agricultural economist at the University of Kentucky, and information from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Auditors estimated Kansas producers had a return of $4.4 million last year on commercial hemp crops. Farmers in the state apparently lost money on floral and grain sales, but sale of plants started in greenhouses more than made up for it.

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