FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Farmers hoping to sell their recently harvested hemp crop met for the first International Hemp Auction and Market in Williamson County.
As farmers harvested their crop this fall, they found there was an overabundance on the market. This caused for the prices to decrease for the crop and for processors to quickly reach capacity in the state.
"It's been a great market for hemp. This year so many people got into that it drove the market down quite a bit. So, farmers are having a hard time selling and selling for a good price," said Mark Case, CEO and founder of the hemp auction.
Case said he believes the market will eventually level out, but that he believe the idea of a hemp auction could be a good alternative way for farmers to sell.
"We have the opportunity if we can have buyers in one place and buyers compete against each other to actually offer a fair transparent market price. So, that's the objective," he said.
There were several hundred farmers with product at the auction, Tuesday, when the auction started. Some 160,000 pounds of hemp biomass, hemp used for CBD oil extraction, was available for purchase.
"It's just the unknown," said Connie Jolley of Roberts Family Farms. "We've heard a lot of good news. We're hoping for the best. We're hoping there's a lot of buyers from out of state and just waiting to see the different prices on the different products sold here today."
Buyers converged on the auction floor and looked through large sacks of hemp for a product to their liking. Bids started slow Tuesday morning.
"We're not getting a whole lot of sales at this point, but this is just day one and the few first hours of the event," said Frederick Cawthon, president of Tennessee Hemp Industry Association. Cawthon added he believed the buying would pick up.
The event is also happening on Wednesday and Thursday, when CBD oil and smokable hemp will be auctioned.