WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CASH CROP IN KENTUCKY? IT’S NOT HEMP…YET
Many farmers are finding out that hemp is unlike any other conventional crop out there. You must make a market for it yourself or you lose. There are no exchanges that work to provide the farmer a just compensation to justify going through another season! Trading platforms may one day prove viable...they are not there yet. As my partner Lyle once said, “If you want to know what it feels like to be a hemp farmer, give me $50,000 and let me kick you in the nutts”. It’s really not that bad and we have made many gains. Lyle’s point still holds true, anyone in this game will take some knocks as we work with others to create the industry. Just take a look at our friends at Green Solutions that last year jumped into farming for the first time and grew over 5,000 lbs of high-quality RX Cherry hemp out by Taylorsville, KY.
They are marketing their flower for sale and made this creative documentative marketing video
must be entrepreneurial, creative, and resourceful to survive in this game. How bad is out there right now for hemp farmers? Consider this, In the spring of 2019 we were able to make a market for our high-quality hemp, hand stripped flower (buds only, buds only, buds only) north of $30 per pound. By the end of 2019 prices fell below $5 a pound. The plants alone on a standard yield of .30 to .50 pounds per clone make selling at these prices ludacris for a small family farm. The economics of last year were really bad for all farmers. For us, our total yield per pound ran us $5.70 just in plant costs for our high cbd strains. Add labor, soil preparation, equipment maintenance, and all the standard variable costs and a high-quality CBDfarmer with less than 20 acres is going to be north of $15 per pound in production cost. What did this mean? As farmers we tended our crops only all season only to be told by interested purchasers we would receive less than half of what was invested in cash to create the yield. This is why the words from our friend whose family farms over 40,000 acres in Kentucky keep singing in our ears....” whatever you do, don’t be the farmer”. He knows all too well how commodity cycles and volatile prices can crush the farm producer (in addition to tornados, drought, bugs, and all kinds of other natural phenomena). The Hemp market is unforgiving. Many large companies GenCanna, Agtech, Lu Lu Gardens (well, posers of large companies since few had significant distribution or customers to support their spending habits) and politicians claimed Hemp would be the agricultural savior for our tobacco farmers that are idle in Kentucky. They assembled large farm co-ops or networks guaranteeing payments that they never made. How are we surviving in this game? When we started our business we just wanted to grow. We also wanted to control our own destiny so we created a brand and learned the value chain by participating in the production, start to finish, seed (clone) to shelf. We partnered with honest people and asked a lot of questions. It’s amazing what you can learn if you are willing to listen. Dr. Gilbert's six words to success: Talk Less, Ask More, Listen Better.(https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/success-hotline-with-dr-robert-gilbert-dr-cDXhw4UA_sQ/) (Pictured: Full Blooms in September on our farm)