It’s New Year 2019, my 38th one as the proprietor of Mt. Folly Farm. It’s been quite a ride. With our new crop of hemp, the gallop is far from over!
As a young farmer, I made it through the farm crisis of the mid-80s by starting a company selling beef raised without growth hormones or antibiotics. Then came the organic farming movement, an alternative to the “get big or get out” age of industrial food.
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Now, as big food manufacturers jump on the organic bandwagon, we are scrambling to protect the integrity of the organic seal, all the while supporting and participating in the local food movement.
But hemp is the big story today, particularly CBD from hemp. I’ve talked about it on NBC Nightly News, and a national reporter just called asking for a farmer’s perspective on what is to come for the expected 22 billion dollar hemp market.
You can imagine that hemp has been the topic of conversation at the country store, and even on Schollsville Road, where I still jog.
“What do you think is going to happen?”
“Are prices going to crash?”
“Will this company pay me?”
“Will it last?”
Here are my answers…
1) CBD worked for me and its benefits are touted by many others.
We routinely receive unsolicited testimonies like this from our customers:
“Have been taking the 1500mg for about 5 weeks now. I just take .75ML a day and feel a difference. My mood is definitely elevated and my mind seems more clearheaded. My bum shoulder now has full range of motion with very minimal pain. My arm and shoulder progressively improved and still improving.”
It’s not just subjective. There is some science posted on our Hemp Science page, and many new studies are in the works.
2) The market for hemp – raising, buying, and selling it -- is global.
In China and Africa, hemp is produced much less expensively with little oversight. With a lot of companies sourcing their hemp from these regions, it is difficult for retail customers to know what they are buying, and from where.
3) As far as product integrity and reliability go, we describe it as the “wild, wild west” right now.
As stated in the recent New York Times article, "A 2017 study in JAMA reported that only 26 of 84 samples of CBD oils, tinctures and liquids purchased online contained the amount of CBD claimed on their labels...And a quarter had less CBD than advertised. The F.D.A. has likewise found many products that did not contain the amount of CBD they were claiming." *
This isn’t a good look for the industry, which is why we put so much effort into third-party testing and carefully monitoring extraction processes for our products before they’re released.
4) Full spectrum hemp CBD works better than CBD isolate, a chemically-extracted white powder.
CBD isolate is hemp’s answer to industrial production. It is simple to use in product manufacturing, easy to transport, less expensive than full-spectrum, and has no THC.
Full-spectrum CBD extract is much closer to the plant and contains 113 additional cannabinoid compounds which interact with each other to produce the “entourage effect.”
Leaving A Mark on the Hemp CBD Industry
At Laura’s Mercantile and Homestead Alternatives, we are threading these needles for customers by:
- Regularly opening Mt. Folly Farm to public visits
- Posting all our farm and CBD product certifications online
- Contracting with and carefully monitoring a local facility to extract and formulate only full-spectrum CBD hemp
- Owning the hemp from cuttings to Homestead Alternative products
I also often speak to groups locally, and answer much of the company’s email myself.
Obviously, this is too much of a monologue for a conversation at the farm store.
Most farmers out here are my age or older. They have been to the school of hard knocks and tend to be less hopeful for a bright future. The estimated future size of the hemp market is smaller than the current size of the organic food market, at $22 billion vs. $28 billion.
Yet, convincing farmers to switch from conventional to organic agriculture has been a hard sell.
Because, either way, farmers get a relatively small share of the product dollar and the learning curve is steep.
I am incredibly lucky to have been born curious, with plenty of energy, and to have young people nearby who are willing to give it a try!
*Friedman, R., Dr. (2018, December 26). Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype? New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/26/opinion/cbd-cannabis-health-anxiety.html