SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In 2021 the South Dakota Dept. of Ag and Natural Resources (DANR) reported a total of 1,737 acres of industrial hemp planted in South Dakota. That number rose in 2022.

Of the 1,737 acres planted in 2021, DANR reports that 1,674 of those acres were harvested. In 2022, they say 2,674 acres were planted and verified by DANR, 2,530 of which were harvested.

DANR also says that the number of hemp producers has doubled from 20 in 2021 to 40 in 2022.

DANR is not the only org. tracking the number of acres planted. The USDA reports that South Dakota planted 1,850 acres in 2021.

Yet another group tracking the industry is the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association (SDIHA). Speaking with KELOLAND News, they shared some surprising news. According to John Peterson with the SDIHA, South Dakota was #2 in the nation in 2022 in terms of acres of hemp planted, boasting 2,540 acres, nearly 700 more than the USDA recorded in 2021.

According to the report from SDIHA, the top states for acres planted in 2021 were Colorado (7,014), Montana (5,833), Tennessee (4,448), Minnesota ( 2,445) and Texas (2,145).

Those numbers look different in 2022, with the top five being Montana (2,998), South Dakota (2,540), Texas (1,600), Missouri (1,494) and Kentucky (1,328).

Notably, there has been a drop off in overall acres planted, with a considerable difference between Colorado’s 7,000+ in 2021 as compared to Montana’s 2,998 holding the top spot in 2022.

SDIHA President Ken Meyer says this has to do with the amount of hemp in 2021 that was grown for CBD. “That market — the producers overproduced what was needed,” he said, noting that this year, many of those states have subsequently scaled back.

The 2018 Farm Bill allowed for the growth and sale of industrial hemp in the U.S. but South Dakota only gained access in 2021. Now in its second your, the SDIHA says South Dakota is in a good position within the market, despite its late arrival to the game.

“Fiber and grain is what our state is really set up to do, and is what is most interesting right now in the hemp world,” said Meyer. “South Dakota’s positioned really well to take advantage of that.”

Derrick Dohmann, VP of the SDIHA agrees that South Dakota is finding its footing in the national market, pointing to two processing facilities, owned by Meyer and Peterson, as something that will boost the industry in the state.

According to Dohmann, South Dakota is the only state expected to have two operational fiber processing plants within the next year.

“Until now, anybody who grew industrial hemp [in South Dakota] — the nearest place they could take it would be down to Kansas or to Montana,” said Peterson, who said the transportation cost for South Dakota farmers was problematic.

The organization contends that not only will these facilities allow South Dakota hemp farmers a closer place to process their hemp, but that it will also open the state to out-of-state business as well.

The SDIHA has high hopes for the future of hemp in South Dakota.

“I think everyone in the hemp world, nationally — is looking for South Dakota to be one of the biggest players in industrial hemp,” said Meyer. “Hemp grows best at a certain latitude. We’re in that latitude.”

Other reasons that South Dakota is set up for success? Much of the equipment to farm hemp is the same as that needed to farm corn and soybeans, making the costs less severe for established farmers looking to dip their toes into the crop.

In addition to this, hemp is also more drought resistant, which may interest farmers recently impacted by harsh dry weather.

The biggest thing the folks at the SDIHA say is needed for the industry to take off is for people to understand that hemp is available as a cash crop. For more info on industrial hemp, you can visit the SDIHA resources page.