Can You Grow Hemp in the Desert? Learn from Arizona Farmers!
Hemp is an ideal crop to build a sustainable future because it needs next to no water, so can you grow Hemp in the desert?
Hemp can be grown in the desert because it thrives in dry climates, and requires 1/3 less water than cotton! The feasibility of cultivating industrial hemp in the desert is growing and investment is also increasing. However, it is important to say that important information about the desert soil condition, presence of pests and the possibility of floods should be considered when setting out to buy desert lands for hemp farming. The type of soil on which hemp is cultivated plays a key role in size and amount of yield to be harvested. Hemp is being grown in the Golden Valley Desert, in the Mojave Desert and is being considered to be grown in Arizona!
Arizona Farmers are Considering Hemp
Can you grow Hemp in the desert? Arizona farmers believe so! Watch the video below to learn their answer.
Hemp is Being Grown in the Mojave Desert
Cadiz Inc. has partnered with Long Beach-based Hemp Company Glass House Group to find out how Hemp grows on their 35,000 acres of desert land. Their goal is to discover to learn how to grow Hemp in the desert with the goal of growing Hemp over 1,280 acres “by the end of 2020.” What they have found is Hemp excels in a dry climate.
The Resurgence of Hemp
Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The origin of Hemp or industrial hemp can be traced to Central Asia particularly China in 2800BC. There is a resurgence in the cultivation of industrial hemp and this can be credited to the wide range of usefulness derived from its produce.
Hemp plant is a member of the Cannabis sativa plant species that are planted annually. Schafer and Simmonds described this industrious plant has a ‘hollow central woody core, around which are bundles of long fibres called the bast which extends throughout the entire length of the stalk’.
In this post, we’ll provide a well-detailed explanation on the feasibility of cultivating hemp in the desert as well as how to cultivate hemp plant in the desert with examples of companies and institutions already cultivating hemp plant in the desert. Also, this post contains well-researched information on why you should invest in cultivating hemp in the desert.
The Legality of Growing Hemp in the Desert
After signing the Hemp Farming Act under the 2018 U.S Farm Bill into law in 2018 by Donald Trump, hemp farming has been made legal by several states such as Kentucky, Colorado, Montana, Alabama and 29 other states.
The 2018 U.S Farm Bill passed to law finalized the removal of hemp from Schedule 1 drugs (cocaine, and heroin). Several farmers are going commercial with the hemp plant, acquiring several acres and hectares of land to cultivate hemp plant. Aside from getting a legal backing from the states where the desired site would be or hemp plant will be located, it is pertinent to explore the soil, weather as well as the water requirement adequate for hemp plant farming.
What is Hemp?
The hemp plant is a dioecious plant with both male and female species, it is believed by many to be one of the first plants to be cultivated by humankind. The plant can grow and blossom in different weather condition and this gives farmers a variety of choice, although the best type of soil to plant a hemp plant is sandy loam soil. Also, it is necessary to say that, the sun condition is expected to be fully sunny. Besides, the required water to be supplied to the plant averages about 65mm of rainfall monthly. Hemp also shows considerable high resistance to diseases, flood and drought.
The leaves of hemp plants are palmated with about 3-9 leaflets (with an average of 5 leaflets) in ovate shape. Also, the hemp plant is capable of reaching 5metres (16 feet) unbranched or with minimal branches.
The dark-green surface hemp leaves are arranged on its stalk in such a manner that the lower leaves with longer petioles are arranged in opposite fashion while the upper leaves that are almost sessile are in an alternate position to each other. Hemp has a hairy, light green stem which serves as a spot for new growth sprout.
The Low-Water Needs of the Hemp Plant
Hemp farming requires only a few amounts of water and the latest study has shown that there can be two harvests in a year. There is a ray of hope for those who want to invest in hemp farming but needed an example. According to Bruce Perlowin, CEO Hemp Inc. ‘it takes only 4 months for a hemp plant to mature. Also, Hemp Inc. through operational in North Carolina and Oregon also purchased a vast amount of land (about 4500 acres of land in Arizona’.
It is believed that the purchased land; a desert is rich in every necessary soil nutrients needed for optimum growth of hemp plant aside from Nitrogen, Lime and Organic matter, which Perkowin said would be added to the soil. About 1800 acres of land is already being used for hemp farming with major focus on the projected high production of CBD oil to be made. This attests to the fact that the resurgent interest in hemp farming is as a result of hemp plant economic value as well as its derived products.
Also, the Cadiz Inc. hemp plant project currently ongoing in the Major desert should bring a smile to the face of several potential investors. In partnership with Glass House Group, the company has invested its time to plant about hemp on 5 acres of its 9600 acres of land. The focus of the company explained by Scott Slatter, the company CEO was that the company seek to at first learn hemp farming rather than becoming rich. Scott Slatter states that ‘hemp plant is a long term sustainable crop that is compatible with the desert environment’. Also, the company with its strategic investment plan after fully understanding the potentials of hemp farming plan to increase investment from ‘5000 acres to about 1280 acres of land at the end of 2020 and 9600 acres’ if things go as plan.
As mentioned above, the hemp plant belongs to the Cannabis sativa plant species together with Marijuana and hashish. For this reason, many people mistook hemp for marijuana. Tom Melton, deputy director of NC extension described ‘both hemp and marijuana to be similar in look and smell’. Although they are closely related in taxonomy, they are not the same due to their chemical composition of tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH). TCH is the major psychoactive substance present in marijuana. It accounts for about ‘5 to 20% of its psychoactive constituent while only a meagre of 0.3% in hemp’ (by dry weight). It is, therefore, safe to say that, the major difference between hemp and marijuana is the percentage composition of TCH (not greater than 0.3% by dry weight) or its ability to get people high.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the mechanism of action of THC is such that it attaches to the Cannabinoids receptors present in the brain that are associated with thinking, memory and pleasure; and activates this receptor hence causing its psychological effect. Whenever this receptor is activated, there is a ‘release of dopamine from the brain cells causing euphoria, delusion as well as affecting the processing of information in the brain centre’.
Only 33 States Recognize Hemp as Legal
Although the 2018 U.S Farm Bill has been signed into law by Donald Trump, only 33 states still consider the cultivation of hemp legal. Also, before investing in hemp farming in a desert, it is important that you have a profound focus to learn while projecting to earn. The industrial plantation of the hemp plant is rested upon the use of its parts such as the seed, stem and the production of CBD oil for food, medicine, clothes and other commercial uses.
‘In 2011, the U.S increased its investment in hemp products from $1.4 million it invested in 2001 to $11.4 worth of legal hemp products. This product was consumed in different granola bars and products’. This was attested to by Eric Steenstra who proclaimed that the long-awaited investment was big.
The Use of Hemp Products
The use of hemp products comes in different forms and different sectors. In the food industries, hemp seed milk is seen as a close alternative to dairy milk. Hemp seed has been shown to be rich in protein, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3s & 6s fatty acid.
Hemp seed contains all the essential nine amino acids. It is as rich in protein as the highly-rated soya beans. It is notably rich in Arginine which plays a key role in the treatment of heart diseases. Also, the CBD oil produced from the Hemp plant can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases.
The hemp plant is also rich in minerals and vitamins as well as neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Hemp: A Sustainable Alternative to Cotton
In addition, in the textile industry, the hemp plant has been found useful and considered an alternative to cotton. Hemp has a fibrous stalk which can be processed into different products like cords, strings as well as cloths. Besides, with a history dating back to the Ancient Egyptians time, the hemp plant can be processed to papers.
The environmental importance of the hemp plant is yet to be fully explored but it sure looks promising. You can expect to use a biofuel made from hemp in the near future as research is ongoing.
So, can you grow Hemp in the desert? The answer is yes! The cultivation of industrial hemp in the desert is possible and feasible. In the year 2014, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimates that the values of hemp retail products in the US soil is about $620 million. Hemp stalk, flower, and seed can be used for the production of a variety of products. It can also serve as an addendum for the production of other products. Hemp products are important constituents for the production of canvas, shoes, bags, cardboard and perhaps 25,000 more uses.
The feasibility of cultivating industrial hemp in the desert is growing and investment is also increasing. However, it is important to say that important information about the soil condition, presence of pest and the possibility of the flood should be considered when setting out to buy lands for hemp farming. The type of soil on which hemp is cultivated plays a key role in size and amount of yield to be harvested.
Discussion question: What is your answer to the question, “Can you grow Hemp in the desert?”
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