SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Illinois farmers are ready for another round with the state’s latest cash crop.
Starting next week, farmers will start planting hemp again, and they are hoping for better results, both during growing, and on the market.
The Ferry family knew that growing hemp was tough, but even they didn’t know how hard it would actually be.
“Last year was just an insane amount of work,” Jack Ferry said. “We were out there every day after work, because we both have regular jobs, and we were out there till after dark or later.”
That difficulty curve didn’t stop them though. They are ready for round two, and growing five times as much as they did last year.
“Well, if you ain’t growing, you’re dying.”
To try and improve the harvest, they are incorporating more technology, but not everybody is thinking the same way.
Penny Nagle also is taking a second swing at growing hemp, but she is planning on taking a more hands off approach this time around.
“This year, we are not being quite so meticulous,” Nagel said. “So less work, and less input cost than what we were told we needed to do. The same fields that you saw, did much better than the fields we were watering and trying to irrigate.”
It doesn’t matter which route they take, if they can’t sell the product though. The large number of growers getting into the game last year led to a surplus of product, and it tanked the prices that attracted farmers like nagle in the first place, who sold her flower for 50 dollars per pound.
“The market dropped to 35 per pound, and it is still dropping,” Nagel said. “Right now you can buy a pound of high cbd hemp for 5 dollars per pound.”
Ferry hasn’t even sold his crop that he grew last year, but he still thinks that this year will be better.
“It’s a growing market, and i think we will have a lot fewer people getting into this year than last year than last year becasue of everything that is going on this year. I don’t think people have the disposable income to do it. I think it is going to be a good year,” Ferry said.