On a sunny autumn day in the tail end of harvest season, wagons piled high with everything seems like blue, green tumbleweeds are rolling into caravans past a sterile, rattling cornfield, moving toward a fresh hemp-processing plant near Delta.
These heaps are stacked high with hopes. Growers are banks on hemp to deliver a money back which outstrips any other crop grown in the fertile Uncompahgre Valley. The change to hemp is evident within this valley: greater than 250 registered hemp areas have replaced conventional crops such as soybeans, corn and alfalfa. They fan out over U.S. 50 and line up on the mesas beside grain and vegetables.
Since December, once the national 2018 Farm Bill transferred hemp from a controlled-substances drug classification and made it to be a normal commodity, growers around Delta and at all Colorado’s agricultural areas have been rushing to get in on the ground-level of a frenzy that was hemp.
It’s driven by a major demand for its all-purpose, officially-unproven magical elixir of CBD oil. Consumers are snapping up it to deal with everything from eczema to melancholy, and in the process, forcing the outer limits of gains for growers as skies high as $60,000 an acre.
The guarantee of hemp wealth that far surpasses the going rate for conventional crops has resisted what growers are speaking to as a contemporary variant of the Gold Rush. This hurry has the exact same outsized get-rich-quick fantasies, the naivete, the flimflam profiteers and the completely crooks.
The payoffs are large for many who’ve learned to browse the still-murky intricacies of their recently authorized status of hemp while at the same time beating the conventional gamble involved in almost any farm harvest. The failures could be huge for many others.