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ORLINDA, Tenn. — Standing between two rows of thigh-high hemp crops close to the Tennessee-Kentucky border, the retired owner of a New Hampshire convenience store cheerfully recalled why he chose to grow his first hemp crop this year.
Barry Paterno, 67, is a gardener, not a farmer — he likes to grow tomatoes and corn. But he saw on the local TV news that an acre of hemp could bring in as much as $50,000 a year. Paterno, who now lives in Tennessee, was inspired to begin his farming career.
Stories like his have been repeated across the country: Farmers are rushing to plant newly legalized hemp in hopes of striking it rich, or at least making a good chunk of change in a period of low commodity prices. Hemp is a non-psychoactive form of cannabis.
But as growers across 34 states start to harvest as much as half a million acres of hemp this fall, many newcomers have no idea who will buy their crop or even who will prepare it for sale. Paterno, speaking during a tour of a farm owned by an organic farmer with experience growing marijuana, said he doesn’t know what kind of return he’ll get on his $8,000 investment.
Hemp gold rush everyone wants in. Our company specializes in high-grade smokable flower. I found last year the best hemp flower from the little guys with Farms less than 5 Acres. Drying and curing cannabis properly takes a good bit of knowledge and labor. We’ve been successful because we’re connoisseurs. Only the best will due. I’m glad so much hemp was planted. CBD oil prices will come down which is great for the consumer. I sometimes take over 200mg in one dose and if I was buying it at current market prices I might not be able afford $10 plus per dose. Typical market prices are at and above $50 for a 1000 mg bottle. So I’m excited that people like myself that need higher doses will be able to afford this incredible stuff.