Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte says there are about 7,000 acres devoted to outside hemp production, with one more 7.four million square feet of indoor greenhouse space for increasing hemp in the state. Above, Stan Bader, a farmer and owner of Las Parras de Abiquiu, has a 1-acre field of hemp. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

The harvest of New Mexico’s 1st crop of industrial hemp considering that legalization is effectively underway, and early returns show motives for optimism and some challenges for the new sector.

The New Mexico Division of Agriculture reported Friday that it has issued 400 hemp-increasing licenses considering that state and federal laws legalized the crop 10 months ago.


Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte told the Journal there’s about 7,000 acres devoted to outside hemp production, with one more 7.four million square feet of indoor greenhouse space – about 170 acres – for increasing hemp in the state. Witte mentioned much more farmers joined the plan than the division initially anticipated, which includes some who are new to farming totally.

“There’s a lot of excitement about the new crop in New Mexico,” Witte mentioned.

It is also a finding out year for hemp producers, with a lot of trial and error as growers attempted to discover the appropriate method to increasing in New Mexico’s from time to time-unforgiving circumstances, mentioned Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Well being, New Mexico’s biggest health-related marijuana producer and the parent organization of Ultra Hemp.

He mentioned he expects only a third of the hemp grown this year to be effectively harvested.

“Even for our personal develop, we had what I would contemplate mixed outcomes,” Rodriguez mentioned.

Hemp, the non-psychoactive variant of the cannabis plant, was legalized nationwide final December below the federal Farm Bill. The federal law defines hemp as cannabis with concentrations of THC, the compound most linked with finding a individual higher, no higher than .three%.

When hemp has a lengthy history of becoming applied in textiles, paper and other material, the contemporary sector is largely centered on the production of cannabidiol, an increasingly well-known compound that advocates claim has curative properties.

In New Mexico, Residence Bill 581 passed earlier this year, establishing a statewide legal framework for the sector and farmers started applying for permits the 1st day they had been in a position, Witte mentioned.


The 400 state licenses are scattered across New Mexico, in 19 of 33 counties from Rio Arriba in the north to Doña Ana in the south. Witte mentioned the biggest grows had been concentrated in southern New Mexico.

Amongst sector increasing pains is acquiring an finish marketplace. Witte mentioned federal legalization brought on a rush of new farmers all more than the nation, with about half a million acres devoted to production. With so a lot item on the marketplace and issues about achievable hyperlinks involving CBD and the current rash of vaping injuries and fatalities, Rodriguez mentioned, some of the hemp grown in New Mexico could finish up in storage.

Consequently, Witte and Rodriguez agreed that it would be useful for New Mexico’s hemp sector to concentrate on processing and extracting oil from hemp going forward, via public or private investment.

Also, Rodriguez mentioned new growers had difficulty adapting the crop to New Mexico’s increasing circumstances. An abnormally hot summer season across a lot of the state triggered plants to bloom early, and New Mexico’s signature wind proved bothersome. Much more lately, autumn rain in southern New Mexico produced harvests one more finding out practical experience.

“She is a really finicky and prissy plant,” Rodriguez mentioned.

Eventually, the increasing pains will be a fantastic factor for New Mexico’s hemp sector, he mentioned.

The finding out course of action helped growers discover strains and increasing procedures that will thrive in New Mexico’s climate. In truth, offered the obtainable land and direct sunlight, New Mexico could turn out to be a “major powerhouse” in hemp production, he mentioned.

“These could be our glory years for the subsequent decade, and I assume hemp will play a element in that,” Rodriguez mentioned.