Farmers are preparing hemp fields for this upcoming planting season, and one hemp professional says this season might look a little different than years past.

Eviane Coton, assistant director of The Cascade Hemp Collective, said even though the recreational market is booming right now, the pandemic has affected hemp sales.

“Sales seemed like they were doing really well and picking up for a lot of our clients, then there seemed to be a little bit of a decline. As soon as the COVID hit there seemed to be a pause in the market,” Coton said.

Coton said the pandemic combined with the new THC Regulations are really hitting the hemp industry hard. Selling leftover hemp product from last season has been a task a lot of hemp farmers are struggling with.

“Because we’re a nursery, and we provide seedlings and clones to other farmers. If our farmers don’t have money from their harvest from last year to buy more plants for this year, it impacts our sales. But we are still seeing people going ahead and planting,” Coton said.

Because the industry was deemed essential, operations including curbside sales of product have been able to continue.

Coton said it appears as if this year farmers are planting less than the previous years.

“So people who grew last year, 35 acres. This year they are only going to do 10 to 15. It seems like a lot of farmers are focusing on quality over quantity which is wise,” Coton said.

Coton said this is following a lot of first-time hemp farmers losing money and crops last season.

“From 2017 to 2018 there was a very large increase in the amount of acreage, and then in 2019 it just kind of exploded,” she explained. “There was so much grown last year and I don’t think the supply chain had really developed yet. So, I think we are still going to see some growth, but the farmers that are really in it for the long run, I’m seeing them scale back a little bit.”

Coton said the new regulations and planning for the farming season has kept them busier than ever. She said social distancing has not been hard, because they have so many nurseries.

“We almost need more workers right now, we’re so busy preparing,” Coton said.


By Carsyn Currier for KTVL News 10