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North Carolina Tobacco Farms Switch to Hemp as Changing Tides Put Cash Crop at Center of Attention

Mike Roet

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Followers of the most up-to-date CBD and cannabis news might remember the major predictions last year from some analysts that the CBD/hemp industry is likely to surpass the medical marijuana industry in terms of total value by the year 2022. But even more surprisingly, new trends are starting to show that hemp farms may be replacing tobacco, an age-old industry worth trillions globally. While the industry certainly is not projected to completely pass tobacco in the near future, one pro-hemp alliance in North Carolina is pushing tobacco farmers to adopt hemp, as well as all the new avenues that come with the expanding hemp industry.

A new partnership between Root Bioscience and Greenfield Agronomics is forming. The intention? To create a massive hemp facility, the biggest one in North Carolina. The facility will handle processing, extraction, and storage of the hemp plant. Additionally, the organization is working to extend access to processing resources and additional markets to farmers all over the state. Working with an extremely limited existing farmer-to-farmer support framework in their part of the country, these North Carolina companies are partnering to make the hemp industry more accessible to traditional tobacco farmers.

The cornerstone of the coalition’s philosophy has always been that the building of a centralized and accessible extraction and processing facility will make it easier for farmers who might not have their own resources to enter the highly-profitable hemp farming industry. The limited access that many NC farmers have to national hemp markets hampers their efforts to join in the expanding sector, Greenfield Agronomics Manager Fen Rascoe elaborated.

From Tobacco to Hemp

One hopeful example for the project is Taylor Carson. A farmer from the tiny town of Bethel, he and a few other local farmers joined a hemp co-op partnership back in 2017. To their disdain, however, the co-op was sponsored by a University which was unable to acquire enough hemp seeds for the growers to continue to participate when the season came upon them.

Fast-forward to 2018, Carson turned his attention to the extraction of hemp oil, a booming industry in the NC hemp market. Having grown traditional crops like tobacco and soybeans for several decades before, Carson switched to the hemp industry following a number of economic problems stemming from several reasons.

Despite his work, Carson still faces a few obstacles in making his new hemp farm work financially. For one, he has issues finding a suitable market for the crops that he is able to grow. A substantive infrastructure for the hemp market does not yet really exist in the state. However, GRES, as well as other organizations seeking to establish a coalition of shared resources and expand access to national markets for hemp, might be able to help farmers like Carson make everything work effectively.

Michael is a freelance writer with several years of experience in writing of all kinds. From the uber-technical to the more relaxed, he is well-versed in a variety of styles. Lately, his work has been primarily focused on the CBD industry—a market with which he has a particular background and interest. Michael has an extensive interest and experience in legal research for the CBD market, and he has a knack for well-researched pieces and guides for the growing CBD and medicinal cannabis community.

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