Executive director of the Florida Hemp Association, Jeff Sharkey, shared his thoughts on making a business plan for hemp.

Since being unclassified by the federal government, the interest in hemp in Florida has been huge, according to a Citrus Industry article, highlighting the interest in hemp as an alternative crop in The Sunshine State. The recent Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition in Orlando saw a panel discussion on federal and state hemp policy moderated by Jeff Sharkey, the Executive Director of the Florida Hemp Association. See his words and recommendations for making a business plan for hemp below.

Make a Business Plan for Hemp

“This is a booming industry around the country. I think Florida has a real opportunity … There’s so many applications and uses of hemp,” Sharkey said. Many growers—especially citrus growers hit hard by citrus greening—are interested in hemp as an alternative crop. Around 450 people attended the Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition to learn about the crop, and to ask questions.

Sharkey maintained that some aspects of hemp cultivation will be easy. “Getting the (hemp) application and licensing is reasonably straightforward. The Department of Ag (FDACS) wants people to be successful,” he said. Other aspects will require more planning, however. “…If you want to grow it … have a clear idea before you put the first seed in the ground how you’re going to cultivate it, how you’re going to test it, how you’re going to dry it and how you’re going to process it,” Sharkey advised. “That’s critical. You have to have a real business plan.”

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