Hurricane Florence : Ag Industry Expects Total Loss

The worst case scenario is unfolding for Hemp farmers located in the Carolinas.  Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm system to hit the east coast in modern day history. Due to the legal status of hemp, these farmers are faced with a desperate decision regarding their crops.  We spoke with North Carolina Hemp farmers to understand severity of the situation.

“We are not ready to harvest yet, however, the industrial hemp commission of NC has given us approval to harvest prior to testing” -Jerry Fuquay Richmond, NC Hemp Farmer

The Department of Agriculture has issued an emergency ruling enabling farmers to pull their crops prior to test results being submitted to the state.  Due to delays in the 2018 bill, this ruling is necessary due to the lack of crop insurance for hemp farmers.  A horrific scene is unfolding.  Harvest your crop two months early, which will decrease your total biomass yield and the CBD potency of the crop, or face a total loss.  

“Us farmers took a chance.” – Shane McCormick, NC Hemp Farmer

That sinking feeling in your gut?  Many farmers were prepared to make 5X-10X more on their Hemp lot than a comparable ag crop.  This gamble seemed like a big win, but farmers are now faced with the reality that their hemp is uninsurable as Florence rumbles towards the mainland.  Many farmers are in damage control. Stuck between the decision to harvest an almost worthless crop, versus leaving fields destined to be torn apart by fierce winds, and drowned by torrential rain and heavy flooding.

William from Advanced Growers says Hurricane Florence creates difficult situation, as he had no protocol set up for a storm of this size. “No plan B. Most farmers I know are in the same boat. No provision set up for a potential early harvest and now they’re scrambling.”

We spoke with Ronald Bryant Lancaster for a few minutes as he rushed into the fields to salvage what he can of his hemp crop.  Ronald has a pilot field of Hemp, they are expecting to prematurely pull 3.5 acres of hemp out of the ground, while pulling a few acres of his other crops. To put this in perspective in regards to crop insurance, Ronald expects a total loss on 10,000 acres of crops such as Tobacco, Peanuts, Soy and Cotton.   His crop insurance will provide a 75% payment based on your allotment, which is determined over a 5 year contract period.

Coming from Tobacco – this has happened before, the big difference is the crop insurance.” – Ronald Lancaster, NC Hemp Farmer

We asked farmers if the government should provide emergency financial assistance.  Clearly hemp is poised to legalize, should the government do more to help the Hemp industry?  

“All the hemp growers knew the risks and that there is no insurance available, and it is an assumed risk.  I dont think it’s the government’s responsibility to bail us out.” -Jerry R., NC Hemp Farmer

“Us farmer’s took a chance, the government should be able to provide some collateral, this is a test lot in collaboration with state.” – Shane McCormick, NC Farmer

“It would be negligent for the government to not step in and provide some relief.” -Joe, Hemplife, NC Hemp Farmer

We send our best wishes to those who will be impacted by Hurricane Florence.  We appreciate the work of all the farmers involved with the Hemp pilot program, and er are deeply concerned about the impacts of the storm.  To help, we have reached out to our processing partners, many of who are willing to offer relief to North Carolina hemp farmers through discounted rates.  Please reach out to us when the storm passed.  God speed.



Michael Gordon

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