KNOXVILLE — Many Tennessee farmers who participated in the state’s return to industrial hemp farming are not planning on growing the highly regulated seed this year, saying it wasn’t profitable last year, in part because of delays in getting the seeds through U.S. customs.
In 2015, the state had about 50 farmers sign up to grow the crop for the first time in more than 70 years. This year, with less than two weeks left to apply for a growing permit, 25 farmers have applied, WBIR-TV reported.
Cocke County farmer Chuck Mason said he thought the crop would be a “gold mine” for his family, but when farmers’ seeds were more than a month late in arriving because of customs delays, the crop turned into a bust for his farm.
Mason said he had been planning to drastically expand his hemp-growing operation this year, but after last year’s failure he will return to growing hay. He said that numerous farmers he knows are also abandoning the crop.
“I’m just not willing to take that chance this year,” Mason said. [Read more at the Chattanooga Times Free-Press]