LANSING, Mich. -- The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill cleared the way for industrial hemp farming across the country. This week, Michigan began accepting applications from farmers who want to be some of the first to get licenses to grow.
It will cost farmers $100 for the license and $1,350 if they want process the plant as well. This way, they can test the waters to see if it's financially stable for them moving forward. But, before you know it, West Michigan farms could soon be lush with hemp.
"We are racing against the clock. It’s almost May. We want to plant in between May 15th and June 1st," said Joe Brown, a hemp farmer.
Brown is a hemp farmer in Saranac. He's consulting people who want to get in the growing business. Thanks to a research license through the state of Kentucky, Brown has been farming hemp for about a decade. What he's found is that it can bring in a lot money for otherwise struggling farmers.
"Even if we were getting $5,000 an acre, which is what I got last time, I did a commercial production. If that was the case, we would be significantly higher than the $600 an acre for soybeans or the $1,200 an acre of corn," Brown, explained.
"Who in their right mind would want to grow corn or soybean, when you can grow a legal crop, hemp," Brown, added.
From CBD to textiles to plastics, there's a lot of uses for the crop. Brown is still cautioning new farmers to take it slow.
"I would advise people to be very conservative when they are making decisions on how much seed to buy or how many acres to do this year. There’s not very many processors. Even us who have the processors licenses, we are not set-up infrastructure-wise to handle mass amounts like they do in Kentucky. You may grow all you want, but you could be sitting on it," Brown, said.
If you are interested in getting a license, MDARD has a few events coming up in Lansing on April 29 and 30. Click here for details and to register.