It's no surprise that the CBD business is dominating the market. Due to this, starting an industrial hemp farm could be an excellent business venture. In fact, it's a great way to take advantage of the CBD boom!
We should also mention that the CBD industry is currently worth £300 million. Experts propose that it could be worth up to £1 billion in the UK by 2025. After all, even celebrities are riding the CBD bandwagon.
With a license from the Home Office, and by fulfilling a few other conditions, you're free to start growing hemp. At Candid, we're here to help. If you've ever thought about starting your own industrial hemp farm, here's everything you should know!
Step 1: Research, Research, and Research More!
You might be tempted to jump right into the world of industrial hemp farming. However, we'd recommend holding off on the process for the moment. Before you start sourcing land and buying seeds, take some time to do your research.
To reap the maximum benefits, you first have to lay the groundwork. Look up and learn whatever you can about hemp farming in the UK. You should also try to speak with UK-based hemp farmers, as they'll be able to give you an in-depth understanding of what it's like.
Furthermore, you can check in with the British Hemp Alliance. They're a wealth of information on growing industrial hemp in the UK. They can also point you in the right direction in terms of budgeting, sourcing seeds, and applying for your licence.
Step 2: Consider Your Industrial Hemp Farming Goals
Setting achievable targets is important — especially if you're new to farming. This helps to understand your final result, so you can work your way forward. You'll also need to consider what you're growing for.
In the UK, there's a ban on growing hemp leaf and flower. However, this doesn't mean that you can't profit off hemp's moment in the spotlight. Here, you can decide if you'll harvest hemp seeds, fibre, or both.
This will help establish how and what you'll harvest. Once you've established these ideals, you can begin with the end in mind. By doing this, you'll have a linear path to your industrial hemp farming goals.
There's no doubt, at this point, that you'll have thought about your profits. You might be tempted to aim for the highest possible profits. However, if you're a first-time farmer, we'd recommend a more realistic goal.
This will ensure that you aren't discouraged if your profits are slightly lower than anticipated. That being said, remember to factor in your expenses, as you should expect to break even after your first harvest.
Step 3: Develop an Industrial Hemp Farming Business Plan
By this point, you're gearing up to apply for your licence. You're ready to join the ranks of the other UK-based hemp farms. However, we'd recommend taking some time to formulate a business plan before you apply for the licence.
After all, you're trying to profit off the CBD boom. This might sound challenging and a little tedious, but it'll highlight potential pitfalls in your idea. By doing this, you'll be able to anticipate any likely issues.
Therefore, you'll be able to come up with a solution or change directions to avoid this. We'd recommend taking these aspects into consideration:
- Your financial plan. By doing this, you'll know exactly how much you're investing in your industrial hemp farm. You can also see exactly where your finances go.
- SWOT. Also known as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Take some time to make a note of all these aspects.
- Operations and sales. Consider your plans for operating — when you'll plant and harvest, who you'll employ, and what you'll need. You should also think about sales strategies, and how to best boost your business.
- Think about your customers. Here's where networking can come in handy. By speaking to potential customers, you can anticipate and meet their needs. Therefore, you'll know what to harvest, who to sell to, and what strains to plant.
Step 4: Farming and Harvesting — What to Consider
By now, you'll know just how much land you're working with. Once you've taken this into consideration, you'll need to think about irrigation systems. The good news is that hemp is a fairly versatile crop.
This means that you can choose to use practically any irrigation system, and expect positive results. For first-time farmers, we'd recommend speaking to other UK-based industrial hemp farmers. By doing this, you'll understand what sort of irrigation system works best for your plot of land.
This will also give you an idea of how much your irrigation system will cost. However, if you have prior farming experience, you might have a good idea of what will work. In this case, you might even be able to reuse an old system and save on costs!
In addition to your farming considerations, you'll have to think about your final product. UK guidelines surrounding industrial hemp farms and THC content are fairly rigid. It's also your responsibility to ensure that your crops meet these guidelines.
Therefore, you'll have to test your crops at regular intervals. You should also try to test them more frequently as they reach maturity, just before harvesting. This will help ensure that your crops don't contain more than 0.2% THC.
To test your crops, we'd recommend looking for a recognised third-party testing facility. These facilities can usually give you the COA (Certificates of Analysis) you need, ensuring your crops meet legal guidelines.
Step 5: Apply for Your Industrial Hemp Farming Licence
Once you've completed these steps and are happy with the results, it's time to apply for your industrial hemp farming licence. You can do this by visiting the Home Office website. Carefully read through their factsheet and their application guidance notes.
After completing the application form, sit back and take a deep breath. You've made it this far, after all. Now, you can wait for approval before the next big step!
Step 6: Get Busy Buying (and Hiring)!
So, you've received approval. What's next? Well, it's time to start executing your plan!
Take stock of what you need to purchase. For example, if you're new to farming — or to industrial hemp — you might not have all the necessary equipment. Therefore, you'll have to budget for these machines, and then source them.
It's also a great time to research what sort of hemp strain to plant. Once you've made a decision, you can purchase your seeds and store them until they're ready to plant.
As an industrial hemp farmer, you'll probably be working with large expanses of land. In this case, it's important to ensure that you have enough hands on deck. Failure to do so can result in you taking on the brunt of the responsibility, and burning out very quickly.
During the hiring process, we'd recommend searching for people with hemp or farming experience. With the right employees on board, you'll have people to consult with at every turn. You'll also know your crops are in good hands, and therefore, will feel more supported.
Step 7: Get Your Industrial Hemp Field Ready
Now, with everything in order, your staff briefed, and your seeds ready, it's time to prep your field. Take stock of your soil; by doing this, you can ensure that it's in the best possible condition. With nutrient-rich soil, you'll see strong, healthy hemp plants — in no time.
At this point, you'll want to check your soil for drainage, to make sure that it can adequately hydrate your hemp plants. We'd recommend testing the rock phosphate, potassium sulfate, and elemental sulphur, ensuring that they're at optimum levels.
Now, You're All Set!
There's no doubt that you want to capitalise on CBD and its popularity. Starting an industrial hemp farm is a great way to begin. Plus, with these steps, the process doesn't have to be intimidating or complicated — even if you haven't farmed before.
Of course, we realise that there are a number of different ways to launch your industrial hemp journey. However, if you're new to hemp farming, these steps can come in extremely handy. Why not begin your research, and launch your hemp farming journey today?