A field of bright green hemp plants, with a forest in the background and sun shining down
2022 is the inaugural year of hemp production in Idaho!

The economic potential of hemp is notable, with many farmers looking to diversify and improve their bottom line by adding hemp into their rotation. But hemp has the documented tendency to take up chemicals to which it is exposed, leading to increased concerns of pesticide residues in consumer products. It's estimated that roughly 30 producers will participate in the Idaho inaugural hemp season. With NCAP's new hemp education project in 2022, we hope to help those growers with competency in hemp agronomy basics (i.e. morphology, yield potential, cultural management, etc.), confidence in navigating regulatory regime (licensing, testing), and best practices for niche identification and marketing. 

Hemp Roundtable Series

NCAP is excited to be holding a series of hemp industry stakeholder meetings made possible by funding from the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center. We are inviting everyone with a stake in the growth of Idaho's hemp industry together to build connections, problem solve and innovate. This will be useful for anyone interested in biomass production for fiber, seed, isolates, etc. So far the topics that have come up have been: carbon sequestration potential of hemp; how to overcome rural grower isolation; mobile/sharing equipment; licensing, testing, and market fundamentals. Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is also open to providing answers to questions as well as a process for gathering comments or concerns to ensure the program evolves with the needs of industry stakeholders like you. We have already held 2 out of 4 total sessions in this series and publish a report of industry needs at the end.

Watch a recording of the 1st virtual session of the hemp roundtable series, held on May 12, 2022:

Watch the 2nd roundtable session, held on December 6, 2022:

Watch the 3rd rountable session, held on February 23, 2023:

Important Hemp Topics

Production: Cost per acre for planting is estimated by some growers to be cheaper than corn, at only $60 an acre. It’s estimated to bring in $500-600 per acre. There are questions about how best to plant, harvest and store the crop, and the questions will depend on the end use (cannabinoid, fiber, grain, etc.), equipment available, and market potential.

Marketing: While some growers have been approached for contacts, there is no good way of knowing how much will be grown, and how much of what’s grown will be sold. Oregon experienced a significant bubble in 2018-2019 that forced many growers and processors out of the market. Idaho growers have expressed interest in grain and fiber, which are relatively new U.S. markets. The main competitor for grain and fiber is expected to be Canada since they have the most established hemp grain and fiber market.

Legal: Growers have questions about how to project licensing and testing fees, as well as documentation requirements. For rural farmers in the state, logistics will be particularly tricky because of the per hour state inspection fee of $36/hours. The $100 application fee and $500 licensing is cost prohibitive for many small scale growers.

Past Hemp Projects from NCAP

NCAP has supported on-farm research into alternative pest management techniques for a variety of crops. Between spring 2020 and fall 2021, NCAP conducted an exploratory project on pest management for hemp production focusing on Eastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. Since Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon have the same climate, which is recognized as ideal for hemp production, it is strategic for growers across this geographic area to collaboratively pursue pest management goals. We surveyed industrial hemp growers in Eastern Oregon about pest management needs and highlighted hemp growers taking preventative approaches through holistic farm management. According to Gordon Jones, Oregon State University Extension, “I’m concerned we’ve not grown enough seasons of hemp to fully understand which pest species are most important or conducted enough research to understand the best control strategies.” This project was made possible by support from the USDA NIFA through the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center (Western Center).

Watch Pest Management for Small-Scale Organic Hemp Production in Eastern Oregon: 

Watch Pest Management for Mid-Scale Organic Hemp Production in Central Oregon:

Have questions or want to get involved? Please reach out to Christina, our Healthy Food and Farms Program Manager: 208-888-5024 or [email protected].


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