The first time around the USDA sent out 20,000 surveys to hemp farmers across the United States. This gave them a basis to start learning about who these hemp farmers are and learn more about their crops.
They are now hoping that a second go-round of surveys will help them to gain a better handle on the overall market conditions. The proposal for the second round of surveys also includes sending around 20,000 surveys.
“There is little to no information on demand for hemp-derived products, and market risks are exacerbated by lack of transparency and consistency in reporting,” the USDA wrote in its survey proposal.
The first survey of this kind was conducted just last year in 2021. Overall, the USDA found that hemp farmers seem to be overwhelmingly white and mostly male. They also noted that hemp farmers are more diverse and often younger than farmers of other crops.
To be honest, none of those findings were surprising to us and probably aren’t to most people. In the upcoming survey, the USDA hopes to get into more detail and also try to better understand the demand for products that are derived from hemp.
The USDA has indicated that it would like to conduct the survey with the help of the University of Kentucky. Some of the specific items they hope to elaborate on are determining the break-even production costs of hemp as well as more detail about the market structure as a whole.
If this second survey project does end up getting approved the University of Kentucky would basically be responsible for the leg work. The university would be the ones to actually conduct and survey. They would then gather up the data and summarize the findings to be able to present to the USDA.
The USDA would then have a team review the findings and be able to present them to the public in its final approved form from the USDA.
As of now, this is not an approved undertaking but it will be interesting to see how it plays out. The USDA is fielding questions and comments from the public on the matter through March 25th.