Michigan's Hemp Industry: How Van Buren County is Leading the Way

March 24th, 2024 Cultivation & Harvest
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Van Buren County, Michigan, has emerged as a key player in the U.S. hemp industry, ranking as the eighth-largest producer of hemp flower in the nation, according to the latest Census of Agriculture report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This notable achievement underscores the county's significant contribution to Michigan's overall position as the seventh-largest hemp-producing state in the United States, marking an important milestone in the state's agricultural sector.

The report highlights California as the leading state in hemp flower acreage and production for 2022, with Alameda County topping the charts by harvesting over 5.5 million pounds of hemp flower. The Central Valley region of California, particularly Fresno and Tulare counties, accounted for nearly 20% of the country's domestically grown floral hemp, which is primarily cultivated for its cannabinoid-rich flower.

Nationally, more than 11 million pounds of hemp flower were produced in 2022 across approximately 1,800 American farms, covering an area of about 10,500 acres. The hemp flower, known for its use in extracting CBD and other cannabinoids, including intoxicating hemp-derived THC, saw California contributing a staggering 56% to the total U.S. production.

The USDA's decision to include hemp cultivation data in its 2022 Census of Agriculture, following the crop's legalization by the 2018 Farm Bill, has provided valuable insights into the industry. This inclusion marks the first instance of granular county-level data being made available, offering a clearer picture of the distribution and scale of low-THC cannabis cultivation across the country. This move has been widely applauded by hemp cultivators and industry stakeholders, reflecting the growing importance and acceptance of hemp within the agricultural landscape.

Michigan's position as a leading hemp producer, with Van Buren County playing a crucial role, is a testament to the state's commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable hemp industry. The data underscores the potential for further growth and innovation within this sector, as well as the importance of supporting local farmers and cultivators who are at the forefront of this burgeoning market.

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