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SYA: When did hemp take off in Southern Oregon?

Recently the Mail Tribune had a story on hemp. Hemp’s been a hot topic around here, and I’ve had a few lively discussions about it at backyard barbecues. Either you love it or hate it. You listed the state numbers. I was curious, could you let me know how many acres of hemp were grown in Oregon in 2017? The numbers I saw published only showed acreage for 2019 and 2020.

— Jeremy S., Medford

Hemp came on strong in Oregon in 2019, but the seeds of what some refer to as a green gold rush started in 2018, Jeremy.

In 2018, we had 11,514 acres in the state, according to statistics from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. By 2019, that jumped to 63,883 acres, dropping to 26,256 acres this year.

There were about 3,000 acres statewide in 2017, 1,200 in 2016 and 105 in 2015.

The number of grow sites in the state was 6,040 in 2019 and 1,939 in 2020.

Statistics for grow sites are not available prior to 2019, according to the ODA.

As you can see, hemp grow sites skyrocketed last year, but have fallen quite a bit this year after a devastating season last year, where crops were destroyed by mold while some makeshift drying sheds in old barns burned down.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens by the end of this season, Jeremy.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.