2021 USDA Survey Shows Steep Drop In US Hemp Production

On Thursday (Feb 17th), the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) – a research branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – officially published the results of its first survey on national hemp production, reporting a significant reduction in 2021 hemp production over previous years.

Key findings featured in the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey, which measured national hemp production as a function of total planted area, harvested area, and total market value (separating hemp under protection and “open” hemp production), include the following:

  • Total planted area: 54,152 acres
  • Total harvested area for all utilizations: 33,480 acres
  • Hemp production total value (open): $712 million
  • Hemp production total value (protected): $112 million

Compared to another national survey for the year prior, the U.S. Hemp Crop Report of 2020 administered by Vote Hemp, the new USDA survey shows a very substantial decrease in planted area (U.S. Hemp Roundtable reports a 50-75% decline) as well as total market value.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable, who informed us of the newer survey, and Vote Hemp are in agreement as to the likely source (or at least a strong contributor) of the decline – uncertainty caused by lack of FDA regulation.

Additionally, Vote Hemp points to a massive surge in new hemp producers in 2019 – a 455% increase – as a likely cause for the stagnation and decline.

Like much of the industry, the 2019 wave was “growing on speculation” that FDA would officially regulate hemp production in response to ongoing pressures, inflating the producer/acreage numbers and informing the later decline as many of these producers are dropping off.