Whether you planted one acre, 10, 50 or 250, indications are across the board that industrial hemp is learning a harsh farming 101 lesson this year — don’t plant it unless you have a market for it.
That said, there still ARE buyers out there for your biomass. The problem is how do you separate the honest ones from the overwhelming amount of snake-oil men currently predating the hemp industry?
The $180,000 an acre biomass sale? That ship has sailed.
But there is still VERY good money to be made in a quality CBD hemp crop, especially compared to many other crops that are lucky if they return a few $100 profits PER ACRE! If you need a primer on that, START HERE.
As of this writing (remember the market fluctuates!) an acre that has produced 2500 lbs of weed-free, well-dried biomass, that tests at 8 percent CBD with a current average market price of $1.75 per a point is looking at $35,000 an acre. Compared to the rest of the farming world, those numbers are still staggering, even if half of last years’ prices.
So, there’s still a lot to be excited about in the hemp game and many markets in hemp yet to explore. But you have to think realistically about this year’s crop and realize anybody that is telling you something different is at this point, blowing the proverbial ‘smoke up your a***.’
And bottom line, all those big numbers mean nothing if you can’t sell it.
At this point, can you still get a forward contract for a harvest that is just week’s away?
There are SOME trustworthy companies out there offering forward contracts. Most were set-up with vetted farm partners at the beginning of the process. If you are offered a forward contract at this late stage, be VERY careful about checking the details. If they aren’t offering to help you get from now through testing, harvest and drying, then they probably aren’t invested in helping you get the best crop (and price) possible and just banking on your desperation.
Avoid brokers. They have no ‘skin-in-the-game’ and will take their commission and run. Eventually, this industry will shake out and the few reputable brokers will remain. But right now, there’s a frightening amount predation on the broker side of things.
Don’t send your biomass to the lab without cash in hand. You and every other desperate hemp farmer is exploring the ‘tolling’ option. But once you let go of your crop you have no control over it. Your beautiful, high CBD harvest may sit in a warehouse molding and losing CBD integrity for months before a lab can get to it. And what you eventually get paid will reflect that.
A trusted biomass buyer should, first and foremost, have your best interests at heart. They are in hemp for the long game, because they believe in this industry. And that means when they work with you they are thinking about not just this year’s sales but establishing a relationship for next year, and the year after that.
When you pick up the phone and talk to them, these are the things they should be talking to you about right now:
Keep in mind, if you started the year with no weed management, no testing, no harvest and no drying plan even the best consulting partner can only help you so much at this point in the season.
But consider this, do you want to find a buyer that can honestly offer you the best price possible based on real numbers and give you no-BS guidance to get you from here to there with the reality of what you got in the time left? Or, bank on big promises but a high chance of greatly diminished return?
In the farming world, we’ve like to call that sort of thing ‘big hat, no cattle.’ The current trendy word for that is ‘unicorn.’ So bottom-line, make sure your biomass buyer is honest, realistic and invested in you for the long-term. Not a unicorn wearing a giant Stetson!