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Hemp has been legal in Texas for three years. This summer put its profitability to the test

A Taylor hemp farmer said the drought-tolerant crop proved to be just that, but there's more to be done to increase profitability.

TAYLOR, Texas — The drought in Central Texas hit many crops, but one farmer said the recently legalized hemp crop survived for the most part. 

E3 Agriculture's hemp farm near Taylor is being harvested for the spring crop. 

"This is a 32-acre hemp plot, primarily for fiber," said founder of E3 Agriculture Lucas Evans. "We planted 120 for the summer or primary spring crop." 

The startup agriculture company has been growing hemp for as long as it's been legal in Texas – three years. 

"If they get the right rain, they can be upwards of 14 to 16 feet tall," said Evans.

With the toughest drought they've faced, the plant still grew to about 10 feet tall. That's without watering the plants and letting nature do the work.

"So this is really kind of an optimal size," said Evans. "We were hoping for a dual crop, which means we would take the top grain from the top the seed and then harvest the stalks."

Because the grain didn't grow, Evans said they lost 40% of their yield. 

While hemp can be used for CBD, the company focuses on industrial use and turns the plant into fiber and hurd.

Its stalk can be used to produce biofuel, auto parts, paper, upholstery and fiber for cloth and other textile items.

Even though this harvest didn't produce as much as he hoped, he is happy with the outcome.

"We're looking to make about seven times more per acre than corn and cotton and that's including the input cost and everything," said Evans.

The company's goal is to help make the world greener.

"You know, we roll it up in smoke when we could be building the future out of it," said Evans. "There's a lot of cool projects going on with that."

Evans said it has been difficult getting companies to embrace the versatile crop. Still, he has hope with more manufacturing companies moving to Texas and the U.S.

"We've got to have Austin be the center of the green revolution and green technology and all these things," said Evans. 

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