On July 15th Horn Creek hosted visitors from around the state. The Oregon State University extension office holds an event for Pear Orchardists and supporting industry pros – nutritionists, pest management, etc. They tour orchards and share best practices. Joining us were also the many scientists from the OSU extension office. Our hemp farm was a first for many of these Ag specialists.
We were also joined by Emery and Andrea of Oregon CBD. Emery is our primary contact and helps us with our questions and needs. Andrea works on the science end. Andrea is part of the team which introduced some exciting new developments this year – seedless triploid cultivars and the two new CBDV plants. They were great resources to answer questions well over my head.
Hemp is a unique crop, but it is also just another crop as far as nutrients and pests, and disease are concerned. There were centuries of ag experience and knowledge among the attendees. During an ongoing Q and A, I was quickly reminded how much there is to learn. I often realize that not only do I not know the answers, I often don’t even know the questions I should be asking.
I always accept groups that wish to tour the farm. It is important for our industry’s longevity that we are known to our fellow farmers. We share the same resources – land, water, experts. What we do invariably affects one another. If we operate in the margins, we won’t be accepted into the ag community and we need to be. We also need to be a part of the neighborhood and valley communities.
A majority of attendees had never been to a hemp farm. I always start the conversation by asking them to ask the hard questions in order to address the most important topics. As always, water use, plastic, aroma, and thc concentrations are brought up. As farmers, we need to engage these queries. Uninformed people often assume the worst of our practices. As I write this, Illegal THC grows proliferate in the valley. They pop up overnight in full view and with hastily constructed hoop houses covered by miles of poly sheeting. The owners are not active in the community. Legal rec and hemp grows have no connection to these newcomers but we are lumped along with them in the average citizen’s eyes.
One attendee is a horticulturist for Harry and David’s orchard division. He asked how much water we use per plant. Between Oregon CBD, the extension scientists, and my own calculations we came up with about 1 to 2 gallons per watering session or roughly 4-5 gallons per week. That is a far cry from the 5 gallons per day that has been reported in local media. Those inflated water usage numbers had raised concerns. A face to face conversation can stop the spread of false and alarming information.
Oregon is a leader in hemp agriculture. Southern Oregon is the epicenter. We need sustainable farms operating in our valley for the good of the CBD industry and for the economic health of our state. We are happy to engage with any groups who want to learn more about what happens at Horn Creek.