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Looking for a job that might pay better than minimum wage? Want to get in on a new and fast-growing industry? Desire to return to your roots and apply your green thumb to a post-modern farm? Hitch your harness to hemp. As the CBD market continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, the hemp industry is creating new jobs by the tens of thousands across the United States, with a potential to grow to hundreds of thousands in the next few years.
Since the Farm Bill of 2018 decriminalized the growing of hemp under states’ supervision and allows for the transporting of hemp products across state lines, forty-one states have passed legislation making it legal to grow hemp. The current CBD craze is creating jobs in many different sectors – from the farmers who grow it to the manufacturers that create products from it to the bankers and money managers who work with the profits. And that’s just scratching the surface.
“The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill has brought a lot of hope to a lot of people as we now have the chance to bring to life all of the potential this crop has to offer,” National Hemp Association Executive Director Erica Stark told the Senate Agriculture Committee at its July 25 hearing. “… for farmers; for economic development in rural communities; for increased sustainability of products we all consume on a daily basis; and for American leadership in global industries and markets that are rapidly evolving to deliver the many valuable benefits of hemp to people all around the world.”
The analytics company New Frontier Data recently released a global look at the hemp industry in its report “The Global State of Hemp: 2019 Industry Outlook,” which tallied worldwide hemp sales at $3.7 billion in 2018. The United States captured $1 billion of those sales, trailing only China at $1.2 billion. New Frontier predicts that U.S. hemp sales will top $2.6 billion by 2022, with half of these sales coming from hemp-derived CBD products.
A quick search of the word “hemp” at popular job listing sites Indeed, CareerBuilder, and ZipRecruiter turned up no less than 2,000 current job openings that included warehouse managers, growers and harvesters, sales personnel, customer service operators, lab technicians, store managers, and everything in between. Salaries posted range from entry-level $26,600 to more than six figures, including one search for an Executive Assistant to the Founder and CEO of AVF CBD LLC, which describes itself on CareerBuilder as “an established, multi-state operator in hemp cultivation and product development.” The advertised salary for the desired midtown-New York City assistant? Between $70,000 and $95,000, based on experience.
If you don’t have a green thumb and the agricultural industry is not calling your name, there are still job opportunities surrounding the hemp industry in many sectors. As investors and producers make their profits, they need people to manage them. Look for job openings in financial planning and accounting, as well as a growing need for attorneys in this unchartered legal territory. Compliance officers and government regulators will be coming onboard to make sure the hemp industry is monitored and regulated. Retail locations are opening everywhere, and that creates a need for store managers, cashiers, stockers, and even security officers. Then there’s transportation. The products have to get to the stores, and that creates more jobs for truck drivers and flight crews.
Then there’s the need to get the word out. Marketing companies, public relations firms, graphic designers and IT specialists are also seeing jobs emerge in the CBD and hemp boon.
“Job creation is going to happen in every economic bracket,” Stark says.
Getting Back to Our Roots
For some Christians, the excitement is in the farming itself. Pastor Adam Swanson of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, started his own hemp farm in hopes that the profits from his small CBD retail outlet will fund and operate a 24-hour house of prayer. Others like the idea of going back to the basics – tilling the soil and watching it produce new life.
In an era when the American staple crop tobacco is languishing and dairy farms are shrinking, hemp is breathing new life into farm communities. The advocacy group Vote Hemp stated in its 2017 U.S. Hemp Crop Report that 23,343 acres of hemp were grown across the United States. That number more than tripled in the 2018 report to 78,176 acres.
Farming is an age-old profession with plenty of roots in biblical history. In fact, most of Jesus’s parables taught object lessons through the lens of an agrarian society. Sowing and reaping is a common biblical refrain, sometimes literally talking about the harvest of the fields, but also often talking about the work we need to do in our own hearts, lives, and characters to reap a harvest of joy and spiritual favor.
Sowing and Reaping
Whether you are working in the hemp industry already or considering a jump into this new frontier, do everything for the glory of God who gives you the opportunities. As Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” As Jeremiah 29:11 puts it, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If your future includes work, dedicate that work to God. Seek His guidance and offer all your skills and resources back to Him for His use. When you allow yourself to be a conduit of God’s economy and honor Him with your work and your profits, He can pour into you and allow you the opportunity to pour out to others. As Psalm 90:17 says, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”
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