Industrial Hemp is here to stay. The economic and medicinal benefits of this most versatile crop are undeniable. Testimonials by families tell stories of children recovered from epilepsy, adults healed from cancer, not to mention the great potential to create much needed jobs and sustainable economic development for farmers across our nation as hemp is also an excellent source of protein. We love Hemp!
To celebrate Hemp History Week, Indo Expo interviewed Cliff Thomason, President and co-founder of Oregon Hemp Company. Cliff was the first farmer to plant hemp legally in Oregon in over 70 years. Today Cliff is a proud farmer of ten thousand acres in Hemp crops having spoken publicly on the topic countless times. But things did not come easy for Thomason. As an activist, he co-founded the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association, and lobbied on behalf of Oregon Hemp farmers rights against HB2668 in 2015 and for HB4060 in 2016.
IE: Good Morning, Cliff! It is a pleasure to chat Hemp with you during Hemp History Week!
IE: HOW AND WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH INDUSTRIAL HEMP?
CT: A friend called in March of 2015 and said if I could get seed and land we could start building a Hempire. I got seed and land, and on May 1st, 2015 we we were the first farmers to legally grow hemp in Oregon in almost 80 years.
IE: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING WITH HEMP?
CT: I love working with the growth of the industry. Our company is on track to plant 10,000 acres in 2019. We do a lot of sharecropping, giving farmers all over the state an opportunity to be a part of this industry. I got into hemp to create jobs and industry in rural Oregon.
IE: WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES OF WORKING WITH HEMP TODAY?
CT: Most of the challenges we face are from ignorance. We are constantly educating people on hemp and cannabis. We are finally turning the corner on getting people clear on what we are doing.
IE: Indo Expo is launching a Hemp Start Up Accelerator Program in Oregon to support Hemp startups through extremely subsidized booths. The idea is to create a platform for new Hemp entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR NEW FARMERS AND PROCESSORS TRYING TO GET INTO THE HEMP MARKET?
CT: My advice has always been the same: Its not how much you can plant, it is how much you can harvest, dry, store, and sell. Work your plan backwards to see what is the right amount to plant.
IE: Thank you for the opportunity to share your story with us as a Hemp advocate and businessman! And most importantly, thank you for everything you have done to free the Hemp crop!
Want more information on having a booth at the Indo Expo’s Hemp Pavilion? Click Here!