Industrial Hemp: Possibilities & Potential for the Ag Equipment Industry

A Study of What Farmers, Dealers, and Industry Experts are Saying About Industrial Hemp

AEI Hemp Report

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From June to August 2019, Ag Equipment Intelligence conducted a primary research project to determine the market potential of hemp for the world of ag equipment and how that market is projected to look in the coming years. Hemp, classified in the U.S. as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC, was declassified as a controlled substance in the 2018 Farm Bill, opening up a world of new possibilities for American agriculture. Hemp has been growing in popularity since the 2014 Farm Bill, which allowed states to create hemp pilot research programs to study the crop’s potential. Since then, the popularity of hemp and hemp-derived products has grown exponentially.

The objective of this report is to establish a baseline of information for farmers, equipment dealers, farm equipment manufacturers and any interested parties wanting to investigate the potential of the hemp market and the demand for hemp-specific ag equipment.

This study provides an in-depth view into the following areas:

  • How the hemp plant works and what has led to its popularity
  • How to plant, maintain, harvest and prepare the hemp plant
  • The equipment hemp farmers are currently using and plan to use in 2020
  • Best practices for farmers and equipment dealers getting started with hemp
  • Which manufacturers are currently making hemp-specific ag equipment
  • Where the hemp market currently stands and where experts think it is headed

Ag Equipment Intelligence’s work includes two surveys conducted between June and July 2019, one aimed at hemp farmers and another at farm equipment dealers. The surveys aimed to determine what practices and equipment hemp farmers are utilizing while growing hemp and how equipment dealers are handling the influx of hemp farmers in the U.S. Farmers and equipment dealers were surveyed from both the U.S. and Canada, with the majority of responses coming from the central U.S. region.

Farmers were given the opportunity to describe how much hemp they are growing, what types of equipment they are using to plant and harvest hemp, how long they store and dry hemp and many other metrics. Equipment dealers were given the chance to describe the level of hemp production in their area of influence, what they know about the hemp farmers in their area and what kinds of hemp-specific equipment they carry.

Farmers were also given multiple opportunities to write in additional information on survey questions, including other kinds of hemp equipment, hemp harvesting and planting practices, equipment modifications made for working with hemp and more. Both farmers and equipment dealers were asked to leave comments containing their thoughts on the hemp industry and its future. A full index of all these comments can be found at the end of this report, in Appendices I and II.

Much of the information presented in this report is a combination of research from Ag Equipment Intelligence editors, No-Till Farmer editors and interviews with hemp industry experts, farmers, agronomists, hemp processors, hemp law experts and hemp equipment manufacturers. Without their efforts into exploring the capabilities of the hemp industry, none of this would be possible.