Recent changes have budded in laws related to Colorado’s industrial hemp industry, and farmers and land specialists are taking notice of the impact it’s having the industry. These new laws regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp, not how it is processed, distributed, or sold, but they also permit for government funding and loans to buy land, assistance with infrastructure, planting and irrigating. Partially due to the laws, farmers are getting access to a trade that simply wasn’t there before. It’s an exciting time for those of us in Western Colorado, especially since other areas haven’t been as open to changes like these, which allow more industry to come our way and take over where other agricultural business has been lost.
Montrose is welcoming of this business and has the necessary resources to help industrial hemp farmers succeed, such as the appropriate climates—culturally, politically and environmentally. There’s good sun, good water, and companies or connections willing to support the industry.
But why are farmers breaking into this trade? The answer may be surprising: it’s incredibly lucrative, and now that it’s regulated and allowed, opportunities abound. The scenario is this. Farmers’ cash is limited, and farming is a risky business. Input costs are high (for example, seeds can sell for a dollar each, and clones can be six dollars and up). If you’re a farmer, you’re planting anywhere from 1,700 to 2,000 clones or seeds an acre.
Also, anything can go wrong—be it weather, bugs or hail… the list goes on and on. The hemp industry carries the added risk that if your crops “test hot”—i.e. contain more than the allowed .3% THC—you aren’t covered under the law. Industrial hemp is considered distinct from marijuana mainly due to the concentration of THC, and it is not used as a recreational drug. It could therefore destroy an industrial hemp crop to test hot, placing it under new laws entirely.
Yet even with these risks, the anticipation of big money in industrial hemp is attractive, with profits alone soaring up to $3,000/acre.
And so, with the availability of land and the openness of the Western Colorado community to this expanding trade, the farmers are coming our way. For the growing business here at Lone Eagle, it means that we’re interacting with these buyers, sellers, and farmers on a daily basis. For example, we have about 12 deals right now for the hemp industry alone, and we see business and interest expanding as the new laws take hold.
So with buyers looking to snatch up as many land deals as possible in as little time as they can, our brokerage has been seeing some interesting and momentous changes. Only time will tell of the larger impact to the economy and land trade!