What if I told you there was an alternative plant to wheat that needs half the water to grow and makes four times the profit? Would that be something you would be interested in? Well, if you know anything about the economy it would be a no brainer and this mystery plant is hemp!
Up until 1937, Hemp consisted of a world-leading 30% of American Farming. Now in today’s world, it only makes up 1% of American agriculture. The reason behind this was because in 1937 the Government passed an act known as the “Marihuana Tax Act”. Even though this act wasn’t passed specifically to target hemp, it was commonly misconstrued that it fell under the same law and this scared farmers away. On top of that, targeted harassment from law enforcement officers also gave farmers more reason to steer away from producing hemp.
It’s a shame that the movement from hemp to other alternatives had to happen considering how multidimensional hemp can be. More than 25,000 different products can be made using hemp. Adding to its versatility, hemp has relatively low input and management requirements. It can grow in a variety of climates and soils, is naturally resistant to most pests and grows very tightly spaced allowing it to outcompete most other weeds.
All these factors make hemp based products very profitable to the farmer and company. Consequently of this, sales of hemp products to U.S. consumers have reportedly topped $500 million in recent years, while U.S. hemp imports continue to grow. Not only does hemp make investors profit, but it also creates jobs in some of the hardest hit sectors of the country: rural agriculture, equipment manufacturing, transportable processing equipment and crews. Coupled with this, products could serve and develop the same community where the hemp is farmed: building ecological new homes, producing value-added and finished products, marketing and so forth.
It is beginning to become more and more clear how efficient and productive hemp can be. Global production has increased overall from about 250 million pounds in 1999 to more than 380 million pounds in 2011.
So why is this magnificent plant still illegal in most places within the United States? Unfortunately it is still very closely related marijuana and people believe legalizing one means legalizing the other, which is simply not the case. Hemp is not meant to be smoked, it is meant to create many different products in a cost-effective manner. By reintroducing hemp into our agriculture, we can help boost the economy.