Farmers struggle with hemp grain, hang hopes on fiber, CBD

hemp is used in a variety of ways, mainly in CBD products or as a fiber for ropes.

VIROQUA, Wis. (AP) -- Farmers are questioning whether growing hemp for grain will ever be profitable in Wisconsin, but say there could be a future in hemp fiber and CBD products.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has issued more than 1,300 licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2019.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that summer rains last year ruined about 20 Wisconsin farmers' chances of producing salable hemp grain. Viroqua farmer LaVon Felton says he didn't sell any of the grain he harvested in 2018 and that the endeavor cost him at least $20,000.

Agronomist Bryan Parr says Wisconsin's climate might work better for farmers producing hemp fiber -- once that market grows. Parr says hemp for CBD products could also prove lucrative, although farmers say this market is limited, too.