At a family reunion in the summer of 2019, growing hemp was suggested to us (my wife and I) by my wife’s brother, Andy. Andy is involved in the hemp industry in Oregon and we found it to be very interesting. We have pasture land that has never been tilled and a background in agriculture. Immediately, we started researching, and even attended a hemp summit in Dickinson, ND and a hemp conference in Bismarck, ND.
We were planning on doing a small field, maybe an acre or so with a couple thousand plants at most. However, we all know how the beginning of 2020 played out and plans began changing quickly. Nonetheless, we ordered the seeds to cover about 2 acres, built a greenhouse, built a barn, wired the barn in for electricity, fenced off the newly tilled ground, and figured out an irrigation system that worked for us. We got a growers license from the state… to stay compliant of course. There’s about a hundred or so other little things that took place from then till now, but we’ll stick with the big ones.
For the most part, everything went fairly smooth. There was the occasional windy day or thunderstorm that got us nervous. The gals at the FSA office thought I was a terrible farmer when I told them it took 3 days to plant our 2 acres… until I told them we did it by hand. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. We had a transplanting machine, borrowed from Roger Gussiaas of Healthy Oilseeds, LLC, who we met at the hemp summit. We still packed each one (2600 total) by hand after we machine transplanted the seedlings. After working very hard we did end up with a field of fully grown hemp plants, the first and only CBD hemp field Stark County North Dakota to date. The work doesn’t stop there!
For harvest, like planting, we had friends and family come and help. The main help being Andy who is experienced in hemp farming. Harvest goes so very smooth with an experienced hemper (I made that word up)! Each plant was cut by hand and hauled to the barn for hanging or processing. We also have to give a big thanks to our mothers… without their help and babysitting, this would have been near impossible!
Throughout the process we were getting help and advice from people who are in the hemp business. We couldn’t have done this well without them. Our plants were happy in the full sunlight and freshly tilled soil. On the days it didn’t rain, they got a drink from the nearby pond as needed. We ended 2020 with several hundred pounds of dried, trimmed and cured hemp flower. It is certified organic and we consider it a full spectrum, artisan flower with a great balance of cannabinoids. We are working through every obstacle that comes our way and are excited to share our story. Feel free to reach out with any questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try my hardest to find it. If you are in stores in North Dakota that sell hemp products, keep an eye out for our products. We would appreciate it very much if you purchased badlands hemp products.