Hemp is becoming a preferable crop in many states following its 2018 legalization for a number of reasons. Its net profit per acre depends on its intended use, but is overall more profitable than traditional American crops. Corn makes about $350 per acre, soybeans roughly $250, cotton about $400 and tobacco around $1,200. Hemp fiber makes about $800 per acre, hemp seed about $1,500 and hemp oil over $2,000 per acre. Hemp also generally requires much less water for growth, only needing 1 liter for every 20 liters cotton requires.
25,713 acres of hemp were in operation in 2017, spread among 19 different states, though only Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota and Oregon had more than 1,000. By the end of 2018, an additional 3,546 state licenses had been issued and 5 more states began hemp cultivation programs, totaling 78,176 acres. Colorado, Kentucky and Oregon more than doubled their acreage, Nevada, North Carolina and Vermont more than tripled it, and numerous other states either began growing or made it into the 100s of acres. Montana takes the cake for the fastest growing hemp industry, however, going from 542 acres in 2017 to over 22,000 by the end of 2018. Following federal legalization in December of 2018, we can only expect hemp farms to continue to exponentially grow in number.