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Economic Viability of Industrial Hemp in the United States: A Review of State Pilot Programs

Tyler Mark, Jonathan Shepherd, David Olson, William Snell, Susan Proper and Suzanne Thornsbury

No 302486, Economic Information Bulletin from United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Abstract: After a hiatus of almost 45 years, the Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113-79 (the 2014 Farm Bill) reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States through State pilot programs. U.S. industrial hemp acreage reported by State pilot programs increased from 0 in 2013 to over 90,000 acres in 2018, the largest U.S. hemp acreage since the 146,200 acres grown in 1943. While the U.S. hemp industry grew rapidly and commercial hemp production was legalized again by the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry’s long-term economic viability is uncertain. This study documents outcomes and lessons learned from the State pilot programs and examines legal, agronomic, and economic challenges that may affect the transition from the pilot programs to economically viable commercial production. Competition with alternative crops for acreage, global competitiveness, market transparency, and the ability to manage regulatory and market risks will determine patterns of development in the emerging U.S. hemp industry.

Keywords: Agribusiness; Industrial Organization; International Development; Production Economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-02-19
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.302486

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