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Hemp fiber industry could be as profitable as cotton, but industry still in infancy, experts say

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Hemp was legalized two years ago and West Texas researchers have learned hemp grows well in the south plains, saying it could be as profitable as cotton.

Although the industry is in it’s infancy-- professor Calvin Trostle said using hemp as a textile could prove more profitable than CBD.

“People outside of the region, look at West Texas here in the High Plains and feel that we are a very suitable region for him fiber production. And so we’re very interested in that,” Trostle said.

He estimates one acre of hemp could bring as much revenue as an acre of cotton.

“Fiber has very versatile ranges from textiles, to industrial products to building materials, many uses the the value of a fiber hemp crop for a Texas farmers probably we think will be in the range of what they would have if they were growing a cotton crop a corn crop of wheat or sorghum product,” Trostle said.

However, there is few production facilities. Panda biotech was expected to build a facility in Shallowater, but moved to Wichita Falls.

As of now, producers must travel to turn their hemp into usable products.

When hemp was legalized in 2019, growing for CBD was all the rage, but thousands of acres were planted and less than a quarter was used. “So a lot of that hemp for CBD ended up in warehouses, some of it was never processed. And then in 2020, that acreage that was actually harvested fell by about 50 percent,” Trostle said.

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