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hemp fiber vs corn economics

Corn vs Hemp Fiber Economics - Hemp Fiber Association

The Current Market For Corn

The current economic scenario for corn farming in 2024 indicates a challenging landscape. Projections for corn in Illinois, a major corn-producing region, suggest lower costs compared to 2023, primarily due to reductions in fertilizer prices. However, even with these cost reductions, the break-even prices for corn are projected to be above $5.00 per bushel across all regions of Illinois. If the current price of corn is $4.47/bushel, all farmers are losing money.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the only revenue included in the 2024 budget is crop revenue, with traditional commodity programs like Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) not expected to make payments at the prices and yields used in these budgets​​​

The High Costs of Inputs For Corn

Input costs play a significant role in the profitability of corn farming. In 2023, non-land costs for corn increased to $857 per acre, a record level. For 2024, these costs are projected to decrease to $808 per acre, the same level as in 2022.

Despite this decrease, the non-land costs remain historically high, being $214 higher per acre than the average from 2014 to 2019. This high-cost base, combined with declining corn prices, results in projected negative farmer returns for 2024, ranging from -$81 to -$113 per acre in various regions of Illinois.

When merging this high cost of inputs with the low value of corn, it is quickly becoming economically impossible to be profitable farming corn in 2024.

The Economics of Hemp Fiber vs Corn

Comparing this to the economic viability of hemp fiber, the scenario appears more positive. Preliminary 2020 budgets for hemp fiber production in Michigan show a total value of production at ~$760.00 per acre with total costs amounting to ~$570 per acre.

This results in a positive return above total costs of $190.00 per acre. It's important to note that these figures are region-specific and might vary in different areas or under different market conditions. However, this comparison suggests that, at least in some scenarios, hemp fiber could offer better economic viability than corn, especially in the current context of high input costs and lower commodity prices affecting corn farming​.

Planting Hemp Fiber Behind Winter Wheat (or another crop)

The Heartland team has worked for 3 years to provide data that planting hemp fiber and grain crops behind winter wheat enables more income per acre on land that is usually left completely unused.

How Do I Switch To Farming Hemp vs Corn?

Hemp fiber and grain production use a lot of off-the-shelf equipment that every farmer and farming community has readily available. Read more here for the methods to best grow in your area.

Future-Proofing Farming with Hemp

Aligning with Sustainable Agriculture Trends

As the world moves towards sustainable agriculture, planting crops like hemp aligns farms with these global trends. This foresight can position farms to meet future market demands and regulatory changes.

Long-term Economic Viability

Investing in hemp cultivation now can pave the way for long-term economic viability. As industries continue to explore and expand the use of hemp fiber, early adopters stand to benefit from established operations and expertise in this promising crop.

Welcome to the Hemp Fiber and Grain Association – where the future farms.

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