South Dakotans favor hemp production, student survey finds

Sturgis FFA Chapter
Farm Forum

South Dakota citizens support hemp being legalized to be grown in the state by a large margin, according to a survey conducted this winter by two South Dakota FFA members. The online survey received 1,693 responses from South Dakota residents with 1,628 responses, or 96%, indicating support for legalizing hemp production in South Dakota. Only 65 responses (4%) indicated they were not in favor of legalized hemp production in the state. The survey was available online from mid-November through mid-December 2019.

Survey respondents indicated the primary reason they support hemp as a legal crop within the state was for “economic opportunity for South Dakota farmers and the state’s economy.” “Medicinal purposes” was the second most common reason cited for supporting hemp production.

Among survey respondents, over 95% indicated awareness that the hemp plant and the marijuana plant are not the same crop, and over 90% of respondents indicated they recognize the THC levels are different in the two plants. About half of those responding to the survey indicated they currently use hemp or CBD products.

About one-third of those responding to the survey indicated they were not aware that the 2018 Farm Bill took industrial hemp production off of the controlled substances list and that USDA passed federal regulation programs for hemp in October 2019.

Those responding to the survey represented a cross-section of ages and educational backgrounds, with a larger percentage of females responding (65%) and a larger percentage of West River residents responding (60%).

The high school FFA students plan to further analyze the data they’ve collected and will share their findings at the State FFA Agriscience Fair in Mitchell in April 2020.