- The state of Florida plans on massively expanding their amount of hemp acreage over the next 5 years.
- By 2025, Florida estimates they will have increased their hemp acreage from 22,078 to 300,000.
- Hemp has become a driving force for Florida’s economy, especially during a 2020 with record-low tourism.
The Sunshine State, famous for the massive amount of citrus fruit that it produces, has predicted that hemp will soon have half the acreage that citrus receives.
By soon, they mean roughly 3-5 years down the road. Nikki Fried, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, predicts that the 22,078 acres that hemp currently has will grow to 300,000 acres by the year 2025.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the acreage already granted to hemp in Florida is equal to that of tomatoes, watermelons, and snap peas. Hemp already doubles the production of strawberries as well.
However, citrus fruit is grown across 700,000 acres in the state of Florida, and has long been their staple commodity. For hemp to reach half that acreage, it would have to expand by over 1,000%.
“Imagine all the citrus industry here in the state of Florida, about 700,000 acres, and so we’re going to be getting close to half of that,” Fried stated in a call to the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors.
Last year, Florida faced a rough first outing during their hemp production. Roughly 14% of cultivated hemp in Florida was destroyed due to bad weather or basic human error during the hemp’s growth.
Fried estimates that the current hemp acreage can produce up to $270 million in economic impact, $136 million in revenue, and provide over 8,000 jobs. Those numbers are expected to double by April as the hemp acreage grows to 35,000.
As COVID limited the amount of revenue Florida earned from tourism in 2020, hemp has become one of their biggest economic drivers. Therefore, it makes sense for Florida to put an emphasis on expanding their hemp operations going into 2021.