A survey of 95 Wisconsin bank CEOs and presidents by the state’s largest financial industry trade association, the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), has found low confidence for funding investments in Wisconsin’s new hemp industry at this time, according to a release from the group.
83% of the respondents said “no,” with only 17% saying “yes” to the two questions asked in the survey:.
The first question was, “If the 2018 Farm Bill changes the federal view of hemp, will your bank actively seek to provide loans to industrial hemp farmers and/or processors in Wisconsin?”
The results were the same when bankers were asked, “Do you think industrial hemp will provide enough revenue to stabilize revenue streams for Wisconsin farmers?”
The WBA says passage of the federal Farm Bill has intensified discussion of the hemp market’s potential and that Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is already drafting a plan for submission to the USDA for “primary regulatory control” as authorized in the bill.
According to the WBA, many state bankers say there is not yet enough information currently available about hemp crops including cost, price, yield, returns, contracts, and markets. The WBA says as the industry grows, the data needed for bankers to make agricultural lending decisions will also increase and ease their current concerns.
The WBA release notes Kentucky, where the development of the hemp industry closely parallels Wisconsin, the crop produced $25.6 million in capital improvements and $16.7 million is gross product sales in 2017. With numbers like that, it’s likely that bankers, farmers, and business owners will work together to find common ground.
Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed 2017 Senate Bill 119, into law on Nov. 30, 2017 making the state the 34th to allow farmers to grow hemp.