15 Apr Hemp Could Save Florida Farms During Pandemic
During this pandemic, hemp could be Florida’s farmers only hope. Florida farmers were struggling to begin with. Citrus Greening has hit Florida’s citrus industry so hard; it is now common to find California oranges in Florida supermarkets. Our land has become over farmed and a whole industry is suffering because of it.
Enter COVID-19, restaurants are closing down or at least seeing a reduction in sales, which is reducing the demand for small farmers to deliver produce. Grocery stores are doing well during this whole pandemic, but their sales are mostly nonperishable goods. People are worries and stocking up for the worst! Unfortunately, oranges, blackberries, and strawberries aren’t considered foods one would use to stock up for an emergency. Florida’s farmers are having to throw out up to 70% of their crops due to a lack of demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“A lot of our farmers were selling directly to restaurants, were selling directly to the cruise line industry or even to Disney,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried. “Agriculture has always been the second economic driver with two million jobs across the state, 47,000 working farms and ranches. That’s a $137 billion economic impact. And when the economy is so reliant on tourism, and unfortunately now tourism is at a dead stop, agriculture is gonna be, if not already, the number one economic driver.”
Hemp grown in Florida also means that Florida’s huge CBD business will stop relying on out of state hemp. Fried anticipates 3,000 cultivations applications to come in as soon as the project opens up! The good news is most will qualify. All you need is land zoned for agriculture and to not have a conviction for a narcotics felony in the past 10 years.