2021 Grower Spotlights

2021 Grower Spotlights

We are excited to shine the light on our farmers and share the stories of the incredible farmers pioneering a new crop. Our team communicates with our farmers on a regular basis learning from their successes and challenges, our farmers are brining common sense and bravery to this learning process. Take a minute to read their stories and learn from their advice, challenges, and successes.

James Garman

Kansas Hemp Farmer & Kannaco CEO

Seasons growing hemp: 3

James is an entrepreneur and farmer living in Manhattan, KS. After studying Milling and Grain science at K-State he lived in San Diego, CA for 10 years where he started his career and a family. He now lives and farms in Manhattan, KS.

Q: What got you into Hemp?

A: In 2018 Kansas introduced the hemp research farm bill to roll out industrial hemp research. My father and I had talked about changing the way we farmed. I had seen in California places where a 2.5 acre vegetable farm was right next to a major metropolitan area, and this direct to consumer on the farm concept was where I wanted to go with my farm. I looked into hops, lavender, grapes, and industrial hemp ended up being the one. Unfortunately my father passed away in early 2018 and didn’t get to start this journey with me, but I secured one of the first 5 licenses to grow hemp in Kansas and launched my first crop in 2019.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge with hemp?

A: The challenge was my area had a lot of ‘ditch weed’ or feral hemp so we ended up with seed in our flower, and I heard a lot of Kansas farmers were dealing with the same thing.

Our first hemp crop was almost a complete loss, it was certainly a lot of capital lost, but it got me a seat at a new table and I learned a lot of life lessons. I knew that the Kansas climate was great for growing hemp because I saw how the feral hemp in our area thrives. I also knew most farmers already have the equipment so when it comes to getting the infrastructure in place in order to farm hemp as a crop, we were half way there. What didn’t exist then and is still lacking today is the production infrastructure and the supply chain. So we kept it small and focused on good genetics, and we are learning a lot.

Q: What is it like farming and running a business?

A: It is like a dream come true for me. It feels like my day job is being a business man, and then I also have a hobby farm.  Having the chance to be involved on the farm is in my DNA. If we take the time this year to to understand how to farm the crop properly, we can develop a sustainable and scalable model around a solid genetic. Then we can build our farming operation into something significant simultaneously.

Q: What made you choose to grow NWG seed?

A: I think NWG is bringing the heat, and breeding for traits to make the crop more cruise control like than what most farmers are used to because those genetics have be trialed for years. NWG 2730 in the right conditions is growing like corn, and that’s very promising.

Q: What advice would you give to other hemp farmers or to farmers considering growing hemp?

A: My advice for any farmer getting into hemp is to go slow, be calculated, and be cautious. Hemp is a finicky crop, so don’t be overzealous. You can’t look at corn, wheat, beans, and hemp the same.

Do your homework, start small, and grow.

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