According to Florida’s agriculture administrator, Sunshine State’s hemp acreage will improve by nearly half of Florida’s famous citrus acreage size in the next 3-5 years.
Yesterday, Nikki Fried (Agriculture commissioner) said that Florida’s 22,078 hemp acres in 2020 would skyrocket to 300,000 come 2025. This figure is almost half the size of the state’s citrus acreage. Based on a report from Orlando Sentinel, the state’s current hemp acreage is almost the same as the acreage of Florida’s watermelon, snap peas, and tomatoes. It doubles the state’s strawberry production.
During a call on Tuesday, Nikki told the Enterprise Florida Director’s Board that the state’s citrus industry occupies nearly 700,000 acres, and they’ll attain half that size in hemp growth.
The state’s agriculture commissioner expects Florida’s present hemp fields to produce an economic effect of $270million, $136 million in revenue, and offer over 8,000 employment opportunities.
She added that the estimation is set to double since hemp acreage is expected to be 35,000 by April next year.
Fried asserted that agriculture continues to be Florida’s main economic pillars as tourism has declined by 34 percent in 2020.
Nikki’s positive foresight comes after a challenging first growth year for the state’s hemp farmers. Close to 14 percent of this year’s hemp acreage in Florida were destroyed.
According to Tara Tedrow (a law professor at Florida University), factors that contributed to the destruction of 14% hemp acreage include testing over the 0.3 percent THC threshold and genetic performance.
Florida’s tropical climate wasn’t conducive to the seed varieties that proved to thrive elsewhere. This climate supports fungal infections that are the largest cultivation hiccups.
According to Scott Burgett (co-founder of Green Earth Cannaceuticals), Florida’s hemp planting is done during wet seasons, and this may cause root rot. For instance, in 2020, hemp plants began flowering during early may when they should be in their vegetative state.