Hemp 2020: More farmers, less acreage and 99 other problems – podcast

USDA and FDA intransigence is holding hemp and CBD back. What will it take to break the logjam?

Todd Runestad, Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com

July 29, 2020


Natural Products INSIDER · Hemp 2020: More farmers, less acreage and 99 other problems

Hemp acreage has gone from 7,000 acres in 2015 to 27,000 to 78,000 in 2017 to an eye-popping half a million acres after the 2018 farm bill was passed. The ensuing glut has scaled back many farmers’ plans even while more farmers chase the gold ring—but the bigger problem remains intransigence by the FDA and USDA, which seem to be doing their drug warrior best to keep the hemp market from reaching full potential. Natural Products Insider senior editor Todd Runestad sat down with Rick Trojan, president of the Hemp Industries Association, to talk about a wide-ranging number of hempy topics, including:

  • Are we in Bustville? Too much USDA opposition making farmers felons, too much FDA creating fear around CBD, too many farmers getting in too fast and driving down the price?

  • How institutional racism figures into the history of hemp (it’s not a pretty sight, and it will open your eyes). #BLM

  • Is the main challenge to hemp how potentially disruptive it is to various pre-existing industries? Are you up for the legislative and cultural fight to put more money in the pockets of farmers and rural communities rather than large corporations?

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for NaturalProductsInsider.com and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for NewHope.com, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


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