The value of the U.S. industrial hemp crop in 2021 was $824 million, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service said in its first report on the crop that was legalized nationally in the 2018 farm bill.

Planted acres across the U.S. totaled about 54,000 acres, with about 33,500 acres harvested, NASS said, basing its estimates on a survey sent to growers.

By comparison, farmers planted more than 317 million acres of other crops in 2021, including 93 million acres of corn, 87 million acres of soybeans, 46 million acres of wheat and 11 million acres of cotton. 

“The value of U.S. hemp production in the open totaled $712 million,” NASS said, but there also was a significant amount grown “under protection” — mostly indoors — which was valued at $112 million.

“Overall, it’s a pretty positive assessment,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra, whose group advocates on behalf of the crop and its growers. “There’s some significant economic activity happening here. It’s good to see USDA starting to cover this.”

The value of the crop was based on what was either sold by growers or expected to be sold.

Despite some caveats in the report, NASS is “pretty confident in the numbers,” said NASS commodity statistician Joshua Bates. “We got a lot of help from our USDA partners and state departments of agriculture.”

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Most of the acreage and crop value — $687.4 million — was attributed to floral hemp, from which CBD can be extracted for use in topicals, supplements and food and beverages.

By contrast, hemp harvested for fiber was about 12,690 acres, with value estimated at $41.5 million. The value of hemp grown for seed was estimated at $41.4 million.

“The release of this landmark report provides a needed benchmark about hemp production to assist producers, regulatory agencies, state governments, processors, and other key industry entities,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer.

“Not only will these data guide USDA agencies in their support of domestic hemp production, the results can also help inform producers’ decisions about growing, harvesting, and selling hemp as well as the type of hemp they decide to produce," Hamer said. "The survey results may also impact policy decisions about the hemp industry.”

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