With the passing of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, farms of all sizes around Southern Oregon jumped on an opportunity to get into the nation’s newest commodity. The Klamath Basin was no different. Industrial hemp fields sprouted all over the Basin, providing another crop to rotate through the fields while creating a chance for another possibly lucrative revenue stream.
Gold Dust & Walker Farms jumped into hemp farming like many other farms. We planted fields all the way from the Running Y and Caledonia down to the homeplace in Merrill, and in fields in between. It’s been a learning experience to say the least. With industrial hemp creating a myriad of applications from fiber to CBD extracts, it will be interesting to see ultimately which direction our local hemp industry leans.
Part of the reason we had fields spread all over our part of the Klamath Basin was to see which methods and environments produced the best results. Since harvest wrapped up a few weeks ago, we’re still evaluating the yields from each hemp field we planted.
Harvesting industrial hemp definitely presented us with a learning curve. For starters, harvesting the hemp flower is incredibly manual and requires many people to hang the flowers to dry and then trim them. For that reason, we minimized the amount of hemp flower we harvested. Then there’s harvesting the plant for biomass to use for extracting CBD oil and fiber. Those in the industry know how sturdy the hemp plant is, and considering how quickly it grows, it’s stock is incredibly thick which means it takes different equipment than we have to harvest it. However, we made the necessary investments in labor and equipment to get this year’s harvest out of the fields – and for future hemp harvests as well.
Now that hemp has been harvested, it’s time to get it to market! Gold Dust & Walker Farms already grows a variety of organic crops, so our buyers can rest assured that we have our organic certifications in order.
While it’s exciting to be involved in a burgeoning market, we also like the fact there is another crop to rotate through our fields to assist our sustainable farming program. As we learn more about how industrial hemp fits into our businesses, we’re assured it’s another avenue to help ensure Gold Dust & Walker Farms continues growing into the future.
Before we wrap up this post, we’d like to thank the farm crews who helped grow our industrial hemp crop, and the harvest crews who reaped the flowers and harvested the biomass. Thank you for being a part of this educational adventure, and here’s to next year’s crop!