Growing hemp for cbd oil in virginia

Virginia Farmers See a Future in Hemp

A fter hemp-based ointments helped alleviate farmer Clif Slade’s joint and foot ailments, he decided to give Virginia’s comeback crop a try – not just for the sake of health, but for the farm’s bottom line.

Hemp hangs to dry before CBD oil is extracted at Clif Slade’s farm near Surry. Slade planted two-and-a-half acre of hemp in his first season with the crop for CBD oil production; Photo by Nathan Lambrecht.

On the farm of his childhood, Slade registered and planted 2 acres of industrial hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of the compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That level differentiates hemp from its cannabis cousin marijuana.

“What drew me to hemp initially was the healing properties that I read about and experienced from using topical lotions and salves on my joints,” says Slade, a third-generation farmer. “The final straw to make me jump in and test the hemp water was the potential profitability of the crop.”

Speaking from research, he estimates that profit to be around $50,000 per acre for his certified organic hemp.

“That potential doesn’t exist for Slade Farms in year one,” says the 66-year-old, a member of the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), “but I think the profitability potential will come in year two, three or four.”

How Hemp is Making Headway

Previously prohibited in the United States for more than 70 years, industrial hemp is experiencing a resurgence since its legalization for commercial production under the federal Farm Bill in late 2018 and Virginia law in March 2019. As of November, VDACS has issued 1,183 industrial hemp grower registrations, 262 industrial hemp processor registrations and 117 industrial hemp dealer registrations.

Applicants include experienced farmers like Slade diversifying their crop mix, as well as first-time farmers drawn to the crop. Reports show 2,000 acres planted in Virginia both indoors and outdoors in 2019.

“I think there is definitely a sense of excitement about this new crop,” says Erin Williams, VDACS senior policy analyst who leads agency efforts to implement the industrial hemp law. “We’ve seen growers in other states have success and make money on the floral varieties. I think that some farmers are enjoying the experimentation that is involved in finding what is going to work best in Virginia.”

Clif Slade stands in the hemp field at this farm near Surry; Photo by Nathan Lambrecht.

Generally, farmers can grow three types of hemp: varieties for fiber, for grain or for floral material. Grains are commonly used for human food, while fiber is used for textiles and construction materials. In November, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia is getting its first industrial hemp fiber processing facility, Appalachian Biomass Processing.

From the floral varieties, processors extract cannabidiol (CBD) to make consumer products that are often marketed as alleviators of pain, inflammation and anxiety.

“The success of this season will dictate whether farmers will grow floral varieties or shift to fiber and grain varieties,” Williams says.

Hemp Diversifies and Challenges Farmers

Slade’s first hemp harvest yielded a mix of high-quality plants and those stricken with fungal disease. In 2020, he plans to test more university-recommended varieties to determine the best fit for his farm’s moist climate southeast of Richmond.

“Growing hemp this first year has made me a better farmer and has made me more profitable in the other two crops,” says Slade, who sells certified organic sweet potato transplants and elephant garlic seeds nationwide. “It’s because I’ve paid more attention to management practices.”

He managed irrigation water more precisely and learned that sweet potatoes and elephant garlic grow bigger and better under the white plastic he used for hemp.

Not just registered as a hemp grower, Slade is also registered as a processor. He plans to extract and sell CBD oil to another processor, ideally one that makes organic topical products and pet treats.

“I think the future for hemp producers is very bright once we learn how to do what we need to do,” Slade says. “I will grow hemp in 2020, but not a single plant more than I grew in 2019 until I get the kinks worked out.”

The Cyber Threat

Malicious cyber activity threatens the public’s safety and our national and economic security. The FBI’s cyber strategy is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries. Our goal is to change the behavior of criminals and nation-states who believe they can compromise U.S. networks, steal financial and intellectual property, and put critical infrastructure at risk without facing risk themselves. To do this, we use our unique mix of authorities, capabilities, and partnerships to impose consequences against our cyber adversaries.

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks and intrusions. We collect and share intelligence and engage with victims while working to unmask those committing malicious cyber activities, wherever they are.

Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from cyber criminals, how you can report cyber crime, and the Bureau’s efforts in combating the evolving cyber threat.

Private Sector Partners

Learn how businesses and organizations can work with the FBI to get ahead of the threat and make an impact on our cyber adversaries.

What You Should Know

Protect Yourself

  • Taking the right security measures and being alert and aware when connected are key ways to prevent cyber intrusions and online crimes. Learn how to protect your computer, network, and personal information.

Understand Common Crimes and Risks Online

  • Business email compromise (BEC) scams exploit the fact that so many of us rely on email to conduct business—both personal and professional—and it’s one of the most financially damaging online crimes.
  • Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information, like your Social Security number, and uses it to commit theft or fraud.
  • Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems, or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return.
  • Spoofing and phishing are schemes aimed at tricking you into providing sensitive information to scammers.
  • Online predators are a growing threat to young people.
  • More common crimes and scams

Respond and Report

File a Report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center

If you are the victim of online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as soon as possible. Crime reports are used for investigative and intelligence purposes. Rapid reporting can also help support the recovery of lost funds. Visit for more information, including tips and information about current crime trends.

Contact Your Local FBI Field Office

If you or your organization is the victim of a network intrusion, data breach, or ransomware attack, contact your nearest FBI field office or report it at

Combating the Evolving Cyber Threat

Our adversaries look to exploit gaps in our intelligence and information security networks. The FBI is committed to working with our federal counterparts, our foreign partners, and the private sector to close those gaps.

These partnerships allow us to defend networks, attribute malicious activity, sanction bad behavior, and take the fight to our adversaries overseas. The FBI fosters this team approach through unique hubs where government, industry, and academia form long-term trusted relationships to combine efforts against cyber threats.

Within government, that hub is the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF). The FBI leads this task force of more than 30 co-located agencies from the Intelligence Community and law enforcement. The NCIJTF is organized around mission centers based on key cyber threat areas and led by senior executives from partner agencies. Through these mission centers, operations and intelligence are integrated for maximum impact against U.S. adversaries.

Only together can we achieve safety, security, and confidence in a digitally connected world.

How We Work

Whether through developing innovative investigative techniques, using cutting-edge analytic tools, or forging new partnerships in our communities, the FBI continues to adapt to meet the challenges posed by the evolving cyber threat.