Florida Interest in Hemp Production is High

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Hemp trial by the University of Florida. Photo by Luis A. Monserrate

By Clint Thompson

When the hemp cultivation application process officially becomes available for farmers in Florida around April 25, expect a huge amount of interested applicants, according to Jeff Greene, director of business development at the Florida Hemp Council.

“The (Florida Department of Agriculture) put out on their website, to put in your name and email address if you are interested in growing it. There were over 1,500 farmers that put their information in. I know that we’ve got in the Florida Hemp Council over 800 that have expressed interest,” Greene said. “The first year of any hemp program is going to be predominantly around low acreage, experimentation. Then as we’ve seen with Kentucky and a lot of the other states, it ramps up. It’s just like any other crop. You’ve got to get used to how to grow it.”

Greene thinks hemp’s footprint will not be restricted to just one area of the state but expects interest from all producers and sectors from different regions across Florida.

“I think we’re looking at it from all different levels. We’ve got tomato farmers in Homestead, Florida. The sugar industry is looking at it. The citrus industry is looking at it. The tree farmers up in the Panhandle are looking at it. Everybody’s looking at it,” Greene said.

However, if there is a concern is that interest in hemp is so great and that it’s open to anybody in Florida, if they have not been convicted of a drug-related crime in the past 10 years, Greene said.

“My fear is that we’re going to have a supply and demand issue here like we’ve had everywhere else,” Greene said.

There is also not a licensing fee for producing hemp in Florida.