There is no doubt that the 2019 growing season was unlike any that we have experienced to date. Seemingly unending rainfall in late spring delayed planting of most cash crops within the state, which left many growers pondering the idea utilizing prevent plant at a historic rate. Tie this into the fact that 2019 was also the first year that industrial hemp production was legalized within the state of Illinois, and things became really interesting. Since industrial hemp is best-suited to be planted in mid-to-late June, it provided an alternative to preventative planting (if you had a permit).
As of August, the state had received 923 grower applications, with 601 growing licences being approved. The total acreage on which industrial hemp was produced in Illinois this past year was over 17,000 acres. At the same time, 282 processor applications were sent to the state with only one-half of them being approved. As the hemp industry is in its infancy in Illinois, there likely were many industrial hemp producers this year that did not have a buyer/seller contract for their product prior to planting, or maybe even after harvest.
Phillip Alberti, commercial agriculture Extension educator in northern Illinois (Freeport, IL), has been the commercial agriculture team lead when it comes to industrial hemp. As such, Phillip has been working hard to develop resources and programming on the topic. One of the resources in progress that is also currently available is a "buyer/seller" database that can be used to help connect Illinois growers with Illinois processors and buyers. Buyers and sellers can provide information to Illinois growers by using the "Industrial Hemp Buyer/Seller Form". Once information is submitted through the online form, it will be immediately available to view on the "Industrial Hemp Buyer/Seller List". Keep in mind that all information submitted through the online form will be publicly available, so enter only information that you are comfortable with sharing. This list is a work-in-progress and is by no means complete. The plan is to provide Illinois industrial hemp growers with an idea of where they may look to form contracts with buyers and sellers within the state of Illinois, and the more comprehensive the list becomes the greater the resource will be. We encourage anyone that is a buyer or seller of industrial hemp products (CBD flower, oil, grain, fiber, etc.) to follow this link to find the online form. And industrial hemp growers may also follow this link to find the list. go.illinois.edu/hemp
Another thing that we are working on with regards to industrial hemp is assessing the needs of those that grew hemp in 2019 or plan to grow hemp in 2020 with a needs-based assessment. As this is a young industry with much to be learned, we in Extension are trying to figure out how we may best serve you with regards to research and programming on the topic. The information we gather from this survey will help shape our future research efforts, which help influence our programming. This short survey shouldn't take more than ten minutes to complete and your input as Illinois farmers will be invaluable to the future of Extension and our efforts to serve you! Follow this link to the survey: https://go.illinois.edu/HempNA
You may also check out go.illinois.edu/hemp for links to industrial hemp rules, regulations and permit applications for 2020!
Questions about this survey or anything related to industrial hemp production may be directed to Phillip (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com).