By Clint Thompson
The first hemp plantings in South Carolina will be conducted this week, according to David DeWitt, Hemp Program Coordinator with Clemson University Extension. He believes there will be more hemp growers this year with smaller acreage compared to previous years.
“I think we shifted some from last year at this time when we were getting started. Everybody was jazzed up and we had some good-sized farmers that were getting ready to plant larger acres; 30 to 40 acres of hemp,” David DeWitt said. “I think a lot of that has subsided this year. The lack of demand, backlog in farms to the processor is the kind of thing we’re experiencing. Some of that has calmed down.”
This is the third year that South Carolina farmers will be able to produce hemp. Interest has grown each year the crop has been produced. Eva Moore, communications director for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said there were 350 interested applicants this year. The Department of Ag issued the permits during the last week in April.
DeWitt said the planting window last year was from late-May to mid-June, though he said there were some who planted the first week in May and produced a pretty good crop.
He’ll also be a part of some hemp research this year. The research is mainly designed to assist growers with hemp management decisions. The research will evaluate weight, CBD content and harvest time, as well as test chemical products on hemp mites.
To learn more, see how the USDA approved South Carolina’s Hemp Farming State Plan.