Growing Hemp in Minnesota

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A Guide to Growing Hemp in Minnesota


The farmers in Minnesota are feeling very positive about their climate for growing hemp. In fact, Minnesota could be an ideal place for growing various varieties of hemp and since the potential for profit is high, it is little wonder that farmers are taking such an interest. Let’s take a look at a few of the details related to the climate and growing conditions in Minnesota to see how these would impact on hemp growth.

Plant Hardiness Zone(s) 

For hemp plants to thruive, they need certain conditions. In general, a milder climate is preferred coupled with adequate rainfall of 25-30 cm each year. So that the plants can become well established and hardy they need good soil moisture. In general, industrial hemp is considered a low maintenance crop.

Thermal Profile

The soil temperature or growing hemp should be between 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. if the temperature drops to below 8 degrees Celsius the plant may struggle to survive. This would certainly appear to make Minnesota a great location for hemp growth.

Length of Growing Season

In general, hemp needs to be planted once the risk of frost has subsided. Usually, it is planted a little before the planting date for corn. 

In Minnesota, the general frost-free growing season begins on April 20 and ends on October 5. This means that the growing season for this State is an impressive 158 days. 

Average Annual Sunlight

Minnesota benefits from approximately 2711 hours of sunshine each year, with clear days being approximately 95 and the percentage of time that the sun reaches the ground between sunrise and sunset being 58%.

Hemp plays can survive with around 6 hours of sunlight each day, however, when sunlight is full each day the plant is more likely to thrive. 

Average Annual Precipitation 

In Minnesota, the average annual rainfall varies depending on where you are in the State. In the far northwest, the averages is approximately 45 cm, whereas stretching to the southeast the average rises to approximately 81 cm. 

Considering that hemp can survive on 25 – 30 of rainfall annually, Minnesota would appear to provide an abundance of what is needed for plant growth.

Surface Elevation

The highest point in Minnesota is south of Mound Lake, Eagle Mountain and is measured at 2,301 feet above sea level. The lowest point is found at Lake Superior and comes in at 602 feet above sea level.

Since hemp is best grown at altitudes which do not exceed 800 feet abover sea level, it would seem that while some areas in Minnesota are ideal for hemp growth, other areas may have a negative impact on the plant’s growth due to the higher elevation.

Soil pH

The soil pH in Minnesota is around 6.0 to 6.5. To grow hemp in ideal condition, a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5 is preferred.

Soil Composition

Hemp prefers loose, well-aerated soil that has a high amount of organic matter is if is to thrive.

Minnesota has various soils depending on the area. These can range from flat terrain with thick, dark topsoil to silty soils that have a thin layer of topsoil or loamy soil which has a mixture of sand, silt and clay. Peat soils and sandy soils are also found in this State.

Notable Pests

Hemp growth can be affected by numerous pests such as crickets aphids, cutworms, stink bugs, hemp borers and the list goes on! 

In Minnesota, there are many pests that need to be considered. Some examples are the Brown Marmor Stink Bug, the Soybean aphid and the Japanese beetle.

Obtaining A Hemp Grower’s License In Minnesota

Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. View our breakdown of the 2018 Farm Bill for more information on the legal status of hemp in Minnesota, as well as a breakdown of the application process.

Program Name Program Type Resources
Minnesota Pilot and Commercial Minnesota Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

University of Minnesota Industrial Hemp Variety Trial