DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Farmers across the Sunflower State are in the midst of launching a new industry for hemp. Derby hemp farmer, Vernon Hammond, says one of the biggest challenges is finding affordable crop insurance.

“I mean nobody wants to grow something that they can’t protect.”

Last year, Hammond decided to take that risk when he began growing hemp.

“I mean when you can grow something that is gonna bring 300 to 400 times more money than wheat, even on a small scale. What a great subsidy for your income,” said Hammond.

The new industry came with uncertainty, including whether or not farmers could protect their plants.

“Insurance companies wouldn’t touch it because there was no guidance. So, there was very limited insurance availability last year,” he said.

The United States Department of Agriculture is launching two new programs to make it more affordable for farmers that began growing in 2019 to get crop insurance.

Last year, high prices left many farmers growing uninsured.

“It would of cost us an arm and a leg, and we would’ve ended up losing more money than we already have and probably not even breaking even,” said Nathan Haitt, hemp farmer.

Farmers believe this could help the hemp industry grow even stronger in the Sunflower State.

“It costs about $6,000-$8,000 an acre to grow this stuff. Crop insurance will help farmers get on board to where they won’t lose their full investment,” said Hammond.

You can learn more about the criteria and hemp risk management programs by clicking here.

The deadline to sign up for the programs is March 16.

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