January can feel like a fresh start, but more often than not, it’s an arbitrary mark—and problems usually carry over into the next year.

2019 was a big year for hemp. There was much to be proud of, but at times, it felt like the industry’s problems were just getting started.

In early 2019, experts estimated hemp production by licensed acres, not the actual tonnage brought to the market. Similarly, demand was quoted on the value, not physical supply, of retail consumer packaged goods. This makes it nearly impossible for traders to assess current market values or supply and demand.

About 65% of U.S. hemp farmers in 2019 lacked buyers for their crops, according to the Whitney Economics “Field of Dreams” survey. Even if farmers did have buyers, Croptober painfully reminded us of the dearth of storage facilities to safely dry and store hemp. Questions still exist for insurance underwriters due to the lack of historic crop data.

And banking issues continue to plague many farmers; for example, although banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports for customers solely because they are engaged in the cultivation of hemp, a recent survey from the Wisconsin Bankers Association found that only 38% of respondent banks are currently accepting deposits from hemp-related businesses. Even fewer, 15%, are lending to hemp-related businesses.

We aim to tackle these issues, and many others, head-on this year in Hemp Grower to help you navigate and thrive in this newly legal industry.

In this issue, contributing writer Paul Barbagallo delves into another major problem in the industry: “hot hemp,” which has led to widespread crop loss.

In another story, Barbagallo also shares experts’ insights into how to best protect your intellectual property, especially if you have developed a way to ensure a cultivar will test below 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol.

And Hemp Grower also spoke with Lawrence B. Smart, Ph.D., and his team at Cornell University about their current research and how they might solve—or at least improve—some of the problems plaguing the industry.

We are covering the most pressing issues in 2020 and will continue to do so. That’s a promise, not a New Year’s resolution. And if your concerns aren’t being addressed, please drop me a line. Hemp Grower is here to serve you and help you succeed in 2020.