More than half of US hemp flower grown in California

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California led the nation in hemp flower acreage and production in 2022, according to an MJBizDaily analysis of the recent Census of Agriculture report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Alameda County, California, harvested more hemp flower that year than any other U.S. county, with 5.5 million pounds.

Hemp farms in California’s Central Valley – including Fresno and Tulare counties – produced nearly 20% of domestically grown floral hemp, or hemp cultivated for its cannabinoid-rich flower, in 2022.

According to the USDA, more than 11 million pounds of hemp flower was produced in 2022 by 1,800 American farms covering about 10,500 acres.

California produced 56% of all U.S. hemp flower, which is used to extract CBD and other cannabinoids, including intoxicating hemp-derived THC.

Floral hemp isn't the only hemp grown in the country; the USDA also tracks cultivation for hemp fiber, grain and seed.

But more farms and acreage in the United States are dedicated to growing hemp for flower than all other hemp types combined.

While most of California's 6.3 million pounds of hemp flower was produced in three counties, hemp farms can be found across the state.

Farmers in Imperial County, on California's southern border, harvested 12,000 pounds of hemp flower, and roughly 9,000 pounds were harvested in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles.

Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties - the Northern California region known as the Emerald Triangle for its rich history of marijuana cultivation - also reported active hemp farms to the USDA.

Outside California, Saguache County, Colorado, was the third-largest producer of floral hemp.

The county produced 360,000 pounds of hemp flower in 2022 and was responsible for 80% of all hemp flower produced in Colorado, which ranked fourth in the U.S. for total production.

Jackson County, Oregon, near the California border, closely followed Saguache, producing nearly 200,000 pounds of hemp flower.

Kentucky ranked 25th in gross receipts from all farming in 2022, according to the USDA, well behind No. 1-ranked California.

The Bluegrass State produced 1.8 million pounds of hemp flower in 2022, more than cannabis-friendly Colorado and Oregon combined.

The bulk of Kentucky's hemp flower was grown in the western half of the state, with Marion and Taylor counties leading production with more than 32,000 pounds combined.

While Kentucky produces 16% of U.S. hemp flower - second only to California - some of its top-producing counties might remain a secret.

The USDA withholds some county data so as not to disclose information about individual farms.

The data is counted in aggregate at the state and national level.

Hemp cultivation data was added to the USDA's 2022 Census of Agriculture, the first one published since hemp was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

The USDA has been surveying hemp cultivation on a state level since 2021, and the Ag Census marks the first time more granular county-level data has been available to the industry.

The data provides a deeper understanding of where low-THC cannabis is being grown in the U.S,. and its inclusion in the Ag Census has been lauded by hemp cultivators and stakeholders.

Andrew Long can be reached at andrew.long@mjbizdaily.com.