Hemp’s Agricultural Benefits
Cultivating hemp in the US was very rare and often illegal prior to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Since the change in legislation, and the growing popularity of CBD and other cannabinoids, many people are rediscovering the benefits of hemp, not only for people but also for the environment. One of the most revolutionary environmental benefits of hemp is its regenerative agriculture value, particularly its ability to sequester carbon.
Less Reliance on Pesticides and Herbicides
Almost all varieties of hemp are naturally resistant to pests and predators. Not only does this negate the need for harmful pesticides, it also makes hemp farms a great habitat for pollinators, beneficial insects, small birds, and animals.
Due to its rapid growth rate, hemp makes an excellent ground cover crop. These are plants that are grown in between other crops to cover the ground rapidly, leaving no room for weeds. Not only does this reduce the need for harmful weed killers, it also provides more value than other commonly used cover crops. Traditional cover like clover isn't valuable in itself, but hemp is sought after for CBD and other cannabinoids, making it an additional valuable commodity.
Hemp is an important plant for crop rotation for a number of reasons. Firstly, despite it being an annual crop, hemp’s roots reach deep down into the soil. This both helps to hold the soil together, reducing erosion, and to loosen the soil, allowing more delicate plants to grow afterward. Secondly, hemp produces high quantities of biomass (a matter which returns to the soil and decomposes, feeding nutrients back into the ground). For this reason, hemp is often grown in rotation with winter cover crops, which require high-quality soil.
Rotating crops in order to allow the soil to replenish and to maintain a proper nutrient balance is a longstanding farming practice. However, in the large-scale industrial agriculture era, careful crop rotation has diminished, with farmers using modern techniques to grow the same, high-value crop, year after year. In recent years, more and more farmers are looking back to the crop rotation model thanks to its reduced environmental impact and soil benefits.
One of the most impressive properties of the hemp plant is its ability to remove massive quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While most plants can do this as part of photosynthesis, hemp – with its deep root mass and expansive foliage – does it much more effectively. Hemp not only grows faster than trees, but it can also sequester large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) back into the ground. Scientists estimate that for every ton of hemp cultivated, 1.63 tons of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere (Hughes).
Of course, all of these benefits of hemp cultivation are only possible with careful management, taking care not to deplete nutrients in the soil. That is why the broad spectrum, CO2 extracted hemp in all Prana Principle products is cultivated organically by master growers who are fully certified, licensed industrial hemp producers. All of our farms use sustainable farming practices, including growing without pesticides, and harvesting using methods to increase carbon sequestration and soil quality.
Hughes, Parker. “🌿 Hemp: The New ‘Gateway’ Crop for Regenerative Agriculture?” 🌿 Hemp: The New “Gateway” Crop for Regenerative Agriculture?, Accessed 28 July 2022.