850 Hemp Summit-Tallahassee, FL- “State of the Hemp Industry in Florida 2022 & Beyond”

On April 26,2022 the GreenWrap insurance team attended the 2nd annual 850 Hemp Summit in Tallahassee, Florida.  Leon County farmers were heavily affected by Hurricane Michael when it hit the area in 2018 and caused over $1.3 billion in damage.  Then, the pandemic exacerbated problems.  The Apalachee Planning Council, with the support of the agricultural and academic community, formulated a new idea; to grow Hemp in place of the pine trees lost due to the hurricane.  There were several reasons to support Hemp in Leon County:

  1. Hemp is a sturdier crop than most, including pine trees, and not as susceptible to hurricanes or other natural disasters
  2. Hemp has more applications in the world than pine trees because it can be used in food and non-food products.

We learned from speakers representing Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and the University of Florida (UF) about the research their students, engineers, and scientists, are performing to find the best growing seeds for Florida and how to grow Hemp efficiently.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) was also in attendance and shared that, for a small, fee, they can test seeds to verify they are viable and legal.  FDAC’s is a great resource for the agricultural community funded by Florida tax dollars.  Just like GreenWrap Insurance Solutions is here to answer insurance questions for the community, FDACS is a resource to assist cannabusinesses. Much like our Team finds creative insurance solutions, FDACS will help you diagnose and resolve business problems.  Examples of their work include assisting with pests and bacteria in crops, regulating animal feed, and verifying that the consumer is getting exactly what they paid for when purchasing cannabis products.  Holly Bell, Cannabis Director of FDAC since 2019, stated to the attendees, “We are here to work with you. We are here to help.”

Growers in Florida have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the “Fresh from Florida” seal and the long history and good reputation it provides related to the citrus, cattle, and sugar industry. This label has a history of producing exceptional products that are shipped across North America. Thankfully, Hemp was approved to exhibit the “Fresh from Florida” label under its own program which can only add to brand recognition.

The 850 Hemp Summit touched on an ongoing issue regarding the testing of industrial hemp versus consumable hemp.  Industrial hemp can only be used in food and grains that would not be consumed by humans.  Consumable hemp is applied in beverages, cosmetics, and foods.  There is a growing belief that industrial hemp should not fall under the .3% level of THC currently allowed.  Industrial Hemp cultivators would like to see that figure raised to 1% since the crop would not and could not be used for human consumption in any way.

Hemp is a fairly new crop in Florida and there will be continued debate over the years about best practices and compliance. As Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier said, “We grow or we die, but it must be done in a responsible way.”

Let GreenWrap Insurance Solutions assist you with insurance products to help protect and grow your business.  Contact us today for a complimentary risk assessment of your proposed business or ongoing operations.

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