CARRINGTON, N.D. — Hemp has been pushing its way into North Dakota agriculture for the past couple of years.
And for the first time, CBD can be harvested legally, attracting even more farmers to the potential cash crop. But it’s not as easy to grow as you think.
Hemp and CBD are gaining a national buzz throughout the country. Following the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, North Dakota is one of the latest states to try its hand at producing the CBD crop.
“What we’re trying to do is produce certified seeds so that a farmer, when he grows this CBD type of variety is guarantee that he will produce a high quality plant,” said Research Agronomist Eric Eriksmoen.
A good quality seed is necessary for the production of CBD and if done correctly, the reward is great.
“The financial potential of this crop is huge at this point in time, we typically will talk about seeds right now costing $2 a piece and each individual plant can produce several hundred seeds so the potential of making a lot of money is there,” said Eriksmoen.
Hemp and CBD oil are similar but the way you plant and harvest are very different.
“They are from the same family but you’re targeting something different. CBD.. you’re targeting the resin from the crop and its a complicated way of processing. Grain.. you would produce grain just like would with wheat, corn, soybean, something like that. Then you’ll press it to get the oil,” said Owner of Healthy Oilseeds Roger Gussiaas.
CBD on the other hand, can not be treated like your average crops. Everything needs to be done by hand and also requires a tremendous amount of care and effort.
“CBD, you’re going to harvest by hand. There’s a lot of hand work…hand planting and hand harvesting. It’s very labor intensive. If you want to build a high quality CBD, it takes a lot of time, a lot of labor, and it’s expensive,” said Gussiaas.
Expensive is an understatement which is a reason some farmers may stay clear of this crop.
“This is a good crop to specialize in. It’s very expensive. I can fit enough seed in my front shirt pocket for 6 acres and that was 18,000 dollars worth of seed so it’s more expensive than gold,” said Gussiaas.
Hemp and CBD are fairly new to North Dakota with an estimated 50-60 farmers in the state producing it but you can expect in 10 years that that number will grow as CBD continues to be the high value producing crop.
It’s important to remember that under state law, farmers must receive a license and a background check to grow hemp.