Thinking about the possibilities of industrial hemp production in 2020? In this Capitol News Illinois story, learn how one experienced Illinois specialty crop grower learned a lesson the hard way when mice ate several dozen trays of seedlings he was planning to transplant into a field. At a cost ranging from 25 cents to $1 per seed, rodents in the greenhouse are just one of many risks that Illinois hemp farmers face. “It’s very risky, very risky,” the farmer said. Also, read about claims of market prices ranging from $80 to $100 a pound, depending on its cannabidiol, or CBD content, that makes each one of those seedlings extremely valuable, about the variability in tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects) in seed and the final crop, and the risk of having to destroy that crop if there is too much THC. Farmers can anticipate spending $15,000-$20,000 per acre – from before they purchase seeds to when they have a salable crop, if they don't have the right equipment and need to buy it. But some in the industry believe a quality hemp crop that’s geared toward CBD production could generate as much $90,000 to $160,000 an acre, depending on how much flower the plants yield and how much CBD they contain, if you can find a market. So, as some Iowa experts have said, make sure you've got a market before you plant the first seed if you want to minimize these risks.

Also, learn about the Illinois industrial hemp program and its rules at this link. It may turn out to lead the development of the Iowa program.