40 Acres and a
Mule Cold Press
Industrial Hemp should not even be a conversation. There is no logical reason for it to be on the controlled substance list and but for a period of propaganda that has demonized the plant, hemp has been a staple of our Agriculture. Washington not only grew hemp, but he touted it as the best crop for individuals and the country as a whole.
Hemp provides for thousands of products utilizing every bit of the plant for raw materials. There should be no waste on a hemp farm because all of the by products from any given harvesting of raw material are commodity items.
There so many opportunities to industrial hemp that possibilities and combinations are limitless. From simply bailing your crop to be burned as bio fuel to highly specialized strains for fiber, oils, or medicines there are several available niches and farm plans that will be created.
Everyone knows that big agriculture can and will make billions off of this crop and that is a good thing for economy, environment, and a return to American manufacturing and production. There are entire industries that will spring up in the need to supply oil for fuel and resins and fiber to replace plastics and fiberglass. These crops will specialize to match the needs of the manufacturers wanting the materials. The variety of strains and growing processes that will be needed is what will provide the opportunities for the smaller specialized farmer. All of that being said, let’s take a generic look at what an operation that included 40 acres and cold seed press might expect in the emerging hemp markets.
For the purpose of comparison and discussion we will look at crop yields not annual yields. Please note that different climates and strains will determine the number of crops per year that might be available.
Different strains will produces different attributes but again for discussion purpose, research indicates that one could expect 6000-8000 pounds of plant material from a single acre of hemp. That will produce on average 300 gallons of cold pressed virgin hemp seed oil. This in itself is a valuable commodity that will sell at the bottom around $7/gallon and depending on marketing, packaging, and strain used could sell as high as $40/gallon. That is a potential range of $2,100 – $12,000 per acre.
The oil collection alone is a very enticing opportunity, but there is quite a bit of material left over from the press and the remainder of the plant in stalks and leaves. The raw material potential does not end with oil.
At this point of our discussion we will assume there is 3 MT of material per acre remaining from the harvest. Some of the opportunities are as follows:
o Bio Mass –baled and sold wholesale – $75/MT
o Hemp Flour for human consumption – wholesale $2/lb
o Seed Cake for animal consumption – $450/MT
o Bast Fiber that is used in canvass, ropes, and specialty papers – $1000/MT
o Hurd Fiber that is used for all other papers, building materials, animal bedding, liquid absorption materials. $300/25MT
o Flowers left after seed extraction can be used for medicines and health products – Donated for the purpose of this discussion.
If you ignored every other opportunity besides the oil and bio mass and you negotiated the worst price for the oil, the least one would expect out of their 40 acres is an income of $2,100 X 40 acres = $84,000 plus 3 MT x 40 x $75 = $9000 for a total of $93,000 per crop of 40 acres.
So what are the inputs? Based on USDA numbers certified hemp seed will cost about $20/acre. Lets assume $30. We will also assume $100 per acre prep for labor and ground work. It will be more like $50-$75 depending on the geography. We will also assume $10,000 for a cold seed press (again an expensive estimate) and finally, $5,000 for packaging.
Set up costs not including the land or harvesting equipment.
Press (one time) = $10,000
Seed = $1,200
Land Prep/labor = $4,000
Packaging = $5,000
Total first crop cost =$20,000
Basic Profit analysis =$73,000 per crop.
This scenario assumes that you are already a farmer with the basic equipment in place and does not account for energy costs or storage costs but it does provide a basic overview of what a small farmer might be capable of. Considering that the average small farmer profits an average of $300/acre, hemp has amazing potential.