Texas is finishing up its first legal hemp harvest in the state since the crop was federally outlawed in 1937.
Texas farmers began growing hemp after Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill in June of 2019 that authorized the production, manufacture, sale and inspection of industrial hemp crops and products in Texas. The bill includes CBD products and other edible parts of the hemp plant.
However, farmers had to wait to start growing until the USDA approved the Texas Department of Agriculture’s rules for hemp farming. At the beginning of 2020, the USDA approved Texas’ hemp regulations and plans. The first industrial hemp license in the state of Texas was awarded in April of this year.
“I feel confident that Texas could be one of the largest hemp fiber producing states, similar to how it’s the largest fiber producing state for cotton,” said Coleman Hemphill, President of the Texas Hemp Industries Association. “A lot of the attributes of Texas weather [are] advantageous, both for fiber production and cannabinoids because it’s a dry state, allowing more stress on the plants, which makes the valuable attributes of that crop more expressed.”
The Texas Department of Agriculture issued a list with 364 approved hemp varieties that farmers are allowed to grow. Zachary Maxwell, president of Texas Hemp Growers, mentioned Goliath and Cherry Wine as two high-CBD hemp strains that have been popular with first-time Texas hemp farmers.
“It’s just really, really exciting,” said Aaron Owens, the owner of Tejas Hemp. “Being a business owner in the space early on and being able to distribute and sell products is one thing, and it was a big forward step. But finally, being able to grow ourselves has just been a really massive positive experience and we’re excited to do it.”