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.

Robert

Nebraska Hemp Farmer

Seasons growing hemp: 2

Robert is a family farmer with his wife and two kids outside of Omaha. He and his father have managed a large seed corn operation for as long as he can remember. He is enjoying taking on a new crop and having the chance to go ‘old school’ and get back to the basics. You have to take your time growing hemp, and not be so rushed.

Q: What got you into Hemp?

A: I think it’s a good idea in the rotation. It needs to follow corn – its good to break up the cycle a little bit. I could see a rotation of alternating corn – hemp – corn – beans.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge with hemp?

A: Weed control – specifically the water hemp. We had a lot of hand weeding hours in addition to cultivating this year to keep it back. It would be nice to have an herbicide labeled for hemp.

We also need to get in touch with more processors, because there aren’t a lot here in Nebraska. I think one of the big markets for us is the chicken feed bars made in the northeast part of the state. If we can figure out a way to get hemp seed into their feed, that would make omega 3 rich feed. That would be a good niche around here.

Q: What has been your biggest reward from growing hemp?

A: I had fun with it because we got to do it old school – take your time, and not be so rushed.

Q: What is your plan for harvest?

A: I’m going for the seed, and put my uncle in charge of the fiber. The combine did a great job of cleaning it last year, and we have a lot of small grain bins, so I can segregate the hemp seed. For the fiber – I know we have to let the hemp ret, so I was trying to put some common sense agronomy to it. Why can’t we let it stand over the winter and then bale it up in the spring? But then I don’t know what the processor wants.

Q: What do you love about NWG seed?

A: Your NWG seed hemp looks really good.

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

A: Find the right contacts. We need to build the community, it’s a new industry and finding folks to work with is challenging. The director at the Nebraska Department of Ag is cataloging a list of processors and trying to reach out to growers. University systems are putting on field days, so more things like that will help.

Q: Whats next for you with hemp farming?

A: I have always been a seed corn grower at heart, so doing seed hemp would be ideal. We’re planning on working with our machinist a bit to come up with a better system for a combine attachment

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