Category Archives: Farming

The Great Kentucky Hemp Experiment

By Jessica Firger 10/11/15 at 10:05 AM

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Above:  Western Kentucky University senior Corinn Sprigler helps harvest hemp plants at the WKU Farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September 2014. Hemp potentially could be much more lucrative than tobacco if universities and farmers taking part in the Industrial Hemp Research Program, established by James Comer, Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture, continue to hone their skills cultivating the crop. Bac To Trong/Daily News/AP

Filed Under: U.S., Hemp, farming, Agriculture, Kentucky

The Shell Farms & Greenhouses is an expansive 1,000-acre property in Garrard County, 37 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. The five-generation family farm is operated by 31-year-old Giles Shell and his 60-year-old father, Gary. The two are whizzes at making ornamental flowers flourish, and like most farmers in the area, the family has grown tobacco for years.

In late June, the younger Shell stood outside one of six greenhouses on the farm and held up a yellowed tobacco plant with limp rootstock. The Shells know how to save sickly tobacco plants like this one, but they don’t want to anymore. “I’m hoping it’s our last crop,” Shell said.

Along the winding back roads of Central Kentucky’s bluegrass country, horses and cows graze on lush plains. For decades, tobacco helped farmers here keep their families clothed and fed. But that’s changing. Tobacco production facilities have slowly migrated to North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee due to consolidation within the industry, which has resulted in an ever-shrinking demand for the crop in Kentucky. There’s a replacement crop starting to come in, though: The Shell greenhouses that once nurtured thousands of tobacco plants are now home to 3,200 industrial hemp plants.

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Hemp Rescues Kentucky’s Flailing Agriculture Industry

As demand for tobacco diminishes, the state’s farmers are turning to growing cannabis—but not the kind you smoke. slideshow

It’s been close to 70 years since anyone in Kentucky—or anywhere in the U.S.—attempted to legally cultivate industrial hemp in massive quantities. But today, the Shells and other skilled farmers are taking up the cash crop yet again, under the auspices of the five-year pilot Industrial Hemp Research Program, established by James Comer, Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture, which vets and licenses farmers in the state.

Shifting gears so dramatically hasn’t been easy. The biggest problem is the learning curve: Hemp isn’t tobacco, which means it’s unlike the crop farmers in the area are most familiar with. A major component of the pilot project has involved figuring out the optimal way to make the plant flourish in a much rainier environment than California or Colorado, where most cannabis is currently grown. Farmers have experimented with a number of techniques: covering the beds to prevent over-watering (as you would, for example, with tomatoes) and growing cuttings in flower pots (as they do with ornamental flowers).

And there’s another undeniable challenge: Industrial hemp is really just a few genetic tweaks away from marijuana and outsiders often don’t know one from the other. “When the stuff really starts to flower it has the same look and smell as marijuana. That’s why we have security” to contend with potential plant thieves, says Shell.

The difference between the two cannabis sativa plants is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical compound in the plant that’s responsible for causing the high. In order for cannabis to be considered industrial hemp, it must contain THC levels less than 0.3 percent; any more and the plant has officially crossed over into weed territory.

Currently all cannabis sativa—whether grown to ease chronic pain, get stoned or make rope—is a schedule I controlled substance, a result of the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970, though state marijuana laws have changed some of the classifications at local levels. This is viewed as unfortunate by marijuana activists, but also by many in the agriculture industry, including Comer. He hopes to single-handedly turn industrial hemp into Kentucky’s No. 1 cash crop—and in the process, breathe new life into family farms that have lost millions of dollars with the fall of the tobacco industry.

Most industrial hemp is grown in China. With the right processing methods, the highly versatile plant can provide several notable revenue streams. Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in the plant, can be extracted from the leaves, blossoms and stems for medicinal and nutraceutical purposes. Cannabis oil derived from cold-pressing seeds is a healthful alternative to the oils sitting on most kitchen shelves, and it is already used in a number of cosmetic and beauty products. Other genetic variants of the plant are cultivated to produce fiber that can substitute for cotton, wood and plastic—a more sustainable way to make everyday products ranging from T-shirts to particleboard and even car dashboards.

And then there’s the potential for food. Hemp seed—high in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s and protein—has a mild, nutty taste akin to flax. With the right marketing it could become the industry’s next superfood. It would also make for nutrient-packed animal feed.

Kentucky has a long, but mostly forgotten, history of hemp farming. The Speed family, intimately close friends of Abraham Lincoln, were hemp farmers in the state, as was Henry Clay, the 19th century statesman. Kentucky led the U.S. industrial hemp business until the end of the Civil War, when production of the crop declined and was generally replaced by tobacco. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 put the kibosh on all production and sales of cannabis, including industrial hemp, but the crop saw a rapid resurgence during World War II. Hemp fiber became essential to produce military necessities such as uniforms and parachutes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its national "Hemp for Victory" program, which provided seeds and draft deferments to farmers. In 1942, farmers planted 36,000 acres of hemp seed. A USDA-funded informational film from that year noted that “hemp grows so luxuriantly in Kentucky that harvesting is sometimes difficult.”

With backing from Senator Rand Paul, Comer’s proposed legislation—Senate Bill 50—passed in 2013. It created a regulatory framework for farmers to legally grow hemp in the state. In addition, Paul and Comer were able to get a provision added to the federal Farm Bill that legalized hemp production in states like Kentucky that had programs set up to grow the crop. The bill was signed by President Obama in 2014.

10_16_Hemp_02 Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has backed the efforts of Comer to return hemp to its historical position as one of the Bluegrass State’s cash crops. Its history in Kentucky includes even Abraham Lincoln, whose in-laws grew hemp, as well as Henry Clay, the 19th century statesman. Kentucky led the U.S. industrial hemp business until the end of the Civil War, when production of the crop declined and was replaced by tobacco. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Though state and federal lawmakers support the efforts, Comer says it hasn’t been easy for Kentucky’s agriculture department or any of the farmers in the pilot program. Last year was the first for Kentucky’s pilot program, but it yielded only 33.4 acres of industrial hemp in the state. The farmers were capable of growing much more, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has made it challenging, says Comer. The DEA’s cannabis eradication program provides funding to local law enforcement to form a SWAT team of “cowboys flying around in helicopters.” They have been known to sweep through private farms to confiscate the plants, and have even been known to mistake okra for marijuana.

Despite all this, the project has nearly doubled its hemp production this year, and at least 500 people in the state are now employed at it as a result. Comer says he hopes farmers will soon be able to grow at least 10,000 acres. “We want to be the Silicon Valley for industrial hemp,” he says. The state’s backcountry has already become fertile ground for startups like GenCanna Global, which has partnered with six local farms to grow hemp for CBD.

Matty Mangone-Miranda, GenCanna’s president and chief executive officer, and Chris Stubbs, its chief scientific officer, conducted early work to cultivate low-THC, high-CBD cannabis plants formerly called “hippie’s disappointment”—since it doesn’t cause a high—and now known as Charlotte’s Web. It’s produced by the Realm of Caring Foundation as a dietary supplement under federal law and as medical cannabis for sale in states that allow for its use. The story of Charlotte’s Web first came to public light in 2013, when CNN aired Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary Weed, featuring Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old with a rare refractory epilepsy disorder known as Dravet syndrome that caused her to have up to 300 seizures per week. The Figis were preparing to sign “do not resuscitate” forms for their daughter when a friend connected them with the founders of the company, and the girl gained nearly complete seizure control once she started ingesting the CBD oil.

After the CNN documentary ran, Realm of Caring couldn’t keep up with the resulting high demand, says Mangone-Miranda. They still have thousands of families on their waiting list. “The lack of supply of oil was a huge problem,” he explains. “For me, the logical solution was that we needed a massive, sustainable and reliable supply.” To solve the problem, GenCanna has invested in Kentucky’s farms with the goal of planting 200,000 plants that are genetically similar to Charlotte’s Web in 2015.

Now, GenCanna has an increasing list of companies looking to purchase CBD oil to develop novel products that have absolutely nothing to do with treating rare seizure disorders or making healthy granola. The company has received proposals for CBD-infused sports drinks, wine, beer, Listerine-type fresh breath strips and transdermal patches.

Over the summer, GenCanna, along with Atalo Holdings—another hemp cooperative—purchased a 147-acre former tobacco seed development and breeding facility in Winchester, Kentucky. Along with storage, processing, formulating and shipping buildings, their new Hemp Research Campus includes an over-8,000-square-foot laboratory with breeding rooms. The two companies hope the Hemp Campus will serve as an incubator for the industry, says Steve Bevan, GenCanna’s chief operating officer. “With the Hemp Campus we think we can bring more and smarter people here,” he says. GenCanna and other companies hope to plant their flags before imminent changes in federal and state cannabis regulations allow Big Pharma to enter the picture. “They’re going to throw money in a big way, so we want to understand as much as possible because we have a belief that this stuff is food.”

There is currently a bill in U.S. Congress that would reclassify hemp from a narcotic to an agricultural crop. If the law were to pass, it would minimize the red tape for established hemp farming programs. For example, says Comer, “we won’t have to send staff to a field to do GPS coordinates and then get that information to the state police and all this bureaucracy.”

Despite the regulations and red tape, industrial hemp has already been a saving grace for some of the farmers in the pilot program. The Halverson family, for example, was preparing to shutter their operation, which primarily grew ornamental plants, until GenCanna approached them. The company offered to pay the rent for their property, cover all expenses upfront—including a refurbishing of the greenhouse—and provide salaries to the family and a staff of more than 20. One condition: They would turn all their energies to cultivating hemp and work with GenCanna to learn how to grow this complicated plant and find a way to breed the best version of the plant that is stronger and more aggressive.

hemp_8 Tobacco farmers only earn the equivalent of about 4 cents per pack of cigarettes. It’s still uncertain how much revenue hemp will bring into Kentucky’s agriculture business but the farming community is hopeful. Jessica Firger for Newsweek

In the beginning, the Halversons were skeptical. The family are Sabbath-keeping Christians, and it was hard to know what their neighbors would think. But by that time the family had run out of money and options other than to close the farm. So they went for it.

At first, they were the subject of the weekly gossip at church. “You get to finishing some choral music, and then the conversation after is ‘Are you guys really growing that stuff?’” says Mikkel Halverson. “We feel that growing hemp is more than just work—it is a way we can help those in need. It is part of a healing ministry.” Now, the Halversons’ 36,000-square-foot greenhouse overflows with thousands of hemp plants.

Halverson knows he could probably make a lot more money if he grew the type of cannabis that gets people high, but his family has decided they will not grow a version of hemp that could potentially be smoked, no matter how skilled they become at farming the crop. “I think God made all of the plants,” he says. ”But we’re going to stick with CBD hemp.”

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Hemp vs Cotton: 3 Reasons Why Cotton is Not King (and Why Hemp Should Be) By Kentucky Hempsters — 10/8/2015

 

 

Hemp vs Cotton: 3 Reasons Why Cotton is Not King (and Why Hemp Should Be)

By Kentucky Hempsters — 10/8/2015

Since pro-slavery senator James Henry Hammond coined the term “cotton is king” in 1858, the textile has enjoyed top billing as the world’s primary fabric. In fact, cotton production is projected to quadruple by the year 2050. But should it really be "the fabric of our lives," or is hemp more worthy of that designation?

Hemp was used for thousands of years to produce durable textiles in massive quantities. However, the broad-spectrum prohibition of cannabis made industrial hemp just as illegal as cannabis. In the process, the hemp textile industry was destroyed.

With the growing decriminalization and legalization of cannabis across the U.S., hemp has the opportunity to knock cotton off its throne and become the fabric of our future. Here’s why.

Hemp Production is More Efficient Than Cotton Production

hemp,cannabis,marijuana,leafly,farming

In a time when consumers are becoming increasingly mindful of the environmental and human impacts of the products they buy, how can cotton possibly remain the fabric of our lives? Accounting for less than 2.5% of cropland worldwide, cotton uses 16% of the world’s pesticides. Unsafe use of chemicals severely impacts ecosystems that receive run-off from farms, decreasing animal fertility and freshwater biodiversity.

Excessive use of chemicals is hazardous to the health of field workers and communities in surrounding areas. Throughout the value-chain of cotton products — from soil to shelf — wages are intolerably low and conditions are horribly poor. There’s a reason why slavery was the mainstay of the cotton industry in America’s south.

Hemp production, in comparison, can use similar amounts of pesticides as cotton production, but it requires half the territory as cotton to produce a ton of finished textile. Going organic can cut down on more than one-half of the energy in farming either product, but the yield per acre drops due to the inverse relationship between chemical use and land requirements, so hemp farming can produce better yield with less land even if it’s using similar amounts of energy as cotton farming. Hemp production also has a smaller overall ecological footprint than cotton production.

Hemp Crops Use Less Water Than Cotton Crops

It can take more than 20,000 liters (5,000 gallons) of water to produce 1kg (2 pounds) of cotton, the equivalent of a single T-shirt and pair of jeans. As one of the most “thirsty” crops, cotton is heavily irrigated and is depleting our limited freshwater sources.

Meanwhile, studies show that hemp farming uses considerably less water than its thirsty cotton counterpart. The Stockholm Environment Institute analyzed the UK production of cotton vs. hemp and found that one grow used an estimated 10,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton compared to about 300-500 liters of water to produce 1kg of dry hemp matter, of which 30% is suitable for fiber production.

Hemp Doesn’t Wear Out as Quickly as Cotton

Hemp fabric is said not to wear out, but rather softens over time. Its fiber can be woven into light materials for clothing, durable textiles for commercial industrial purposes, and even into very strong ropes and cables for heavy lifting and pulling. Unlike cotton, hemp holds its strength when wet, and it also possesses anti-bacterial properties.

If hemp is a better alternative to other materials, what happened to hemp textiles? Hemp was actually used for thousands of years to produce durable textiles in massive quantities. In fact, the word “canvas” is actually derived from the word “cannabis.” Hemp canvas was used to make the sails of the great ships that traversed the seas to discover vast new lands, and to cover the Conestoga wagons that settled the American west. Levi Strauss even once made his famous jeans from hemp fiber textiles.

Unfortunately, the broad-spectrum prohibition of cannabis made industrial hemp just as illegal as marijuana. In the process, the hemp textile industry was destroyed. With the worldwide demand for textiles on the rise, isn’t it time to reduce the use of cotton and replace it with a sustainable alternative? American farmers deserve to grow it, just as their ancestors did.

We think it’s time for hemp to reclaim its place as king of textiles. With all of the economic, environmental, and useful advantages it offers as a textile crop, hemp deserves to reclaim its position as the fabric of our future.


Learn more about Kentucky Hempsters and industrial hemp at kyhempsters.com, or check them out on the following social media platforms:

https://www.leafly.com/news/headlines/hemp-vs-cotton-3-reasons-why-cotton-is-not-king

Hemp harvest begins

Kentucky State researchers begin to bring in school’s 1st crop

By Brent Schanding, Published: September 25, 2015 8:20AM

Sheri Crabtree carries a bundle of cut hemp plants at the Kentucky State University Reasearch Farm. (Bobby Ellis/bellis@state-journal.com)

Kentucky State University researchers on Wednesday began harvesting the school’s first hemp crop at the Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm on Mills Lane off U.S. 127 South. 

They spent about four hours in the field cutting stalks before hauling them to a greenhouse to cure. 

“This is a new crop for Kentucky so part of this research is to help give farmers an idea as to how they can use it,” said Chelsea Jacobson, a research coordinator for Nicholasville-based agri-giant Alltech that’s been partnering with KSU on its efforts to revive the once prominent cash crop.  

Dr. Kirk Pomper — associate research director and professor of horticulture at KSU who is co-leading the university’s research efforts — says he’s interested in converting the hemp to fiber and cloth. It’s a market that has a growing potential in Kentucky since hemp was legally reintroduced here in 2014.  

In June, researchers with the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems along with a technical agronomist from Alltech took soil samples and treated and prepared a test plot before sowing several small parcels with hemp seeds at KSU’s farm.

“We’ve got two different products here so we’re looking for differences between them. Difference in height, seed count and oil content,” Pomper said. “We’re looking at the effect of the influence of soil enzymes on the two products.”  

Hemp revival
Hemp was first planted in Kentucky in 1775 when the state served as leader in the U.S. hemp industry. It flourished for generations before largely disappearing by the late 1940s when federal lawmakers restricted its production with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 made hemp a controlled substance under federal law, with production regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 

However, Kentucky lawmakers in 2014 approved legislation to permit industrial hemp production in the state. In February of 2014 Kentucky announced five pilot hemp projects across the state and several farmers have since revived the crops in fields across the Bluegrass. 

While hemp and its cousin marijuana are both derived from the same cannabis plant, industrial hemp production relies on the commercial use of the plant’s stalk and seeds to produce textiles, paper, plastics and body care products among other things.

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What happened to the hemp crop in kentucky? (It took a trip!)

Low hemp harvest yield expected

Story by Lauren Epperson, Contributing writer

Emily Harris/The News Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said problems with this years seeds could lead to a low yielding harvest.Emily Harris/The News
Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said problems with this years seeds could lead to a low yielding harvest.

By late May, Murray State agriculture students still were awaiting the arrival of the key ingredient to their summer hemp-growing program: the seeds.

Getting them to Murray took two more months, attempted shipments from two countries, a pair of bureaucratic paperwork snafus and two of the largest delivery companies in the world.

“There were significant problems with this year’s seeds,” said Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture.

As a result, this fall’s hemp harvest – the second since the federal government allowed Kentucky universities to grow the crop – won’t be a big one, Brannon said.

“We will probably harvest the full two acres,” he said. “It will not be high yielding, but we will try to harvest all of it.”

Murray State’s agriculture students harvested their first crop last year in late October. But Brannon said college officials haven’t decided when that will be this fall or what they will do with the crop once it’s harvested.

Just getting it to Murray was a logistical miracle.

Sixty tons of seeds left Germany and arrived in Chicago without a key piece of customs paperwork. The seed company, which forgot the seeds’ certification form, paid to ship the 60 tons back to Germany.

Plan B was to receive a different shipment from Canada. FedEx picked up those seeds and brought them to Louisville only to realize FedEx policies prevented them from delivering any hemp seeds, Brannon said.

That hemp went back to Canada, only to be picked up by UPS and returned to Louisville. Upon arrival, U.S. Customs agents seized them and placed them under embargo at the UPS processing and packaging center for another two weeks before the seeds finally reached Murray State.

Murray State’s Department of Agriculture partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, U.S. Hemp Oil and CannaVest this summer to raise and conduct research on hemp for the second time. Murray State became the first university to plant a legal industrial hemp crop in the nation in the spring of 2014.

“It’s been an exciting project,” Brannon said. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for regional agriculture, and if it’s an opportunity for regional agriculture, we want to be a part of it.”

Kentucky was the leading hemp-producing state in the United States until it was outlawed by federal legislation in 1938.

The National Council of State Legislatures has stated that the federal government classifies hemp as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act because it contains trace amounts of the same hallucinogen found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC).

Hemp production was legalized for research purposes at registered state universities when the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed into law in February, 2014.

Although Murray State was the first university to plant hemp for research, it is not the only university. The University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University also have conducted pilot programs concerning hemp.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re one of the only universities in the state that is allowed to conduct this type of research and I hope that we are able to continue in the future with this agricultural pursuit,” said Sarah Luckett, sophomore from Beechmont, Kentucky. 

Murray State’s most recent crop, planted July 12, has reached an average height of three to four feet. Murray State’s Department of Agriculture has not yet set a date to harvest the crop or decided how that process will be conducted.

Adam Watson, industrial hemp program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said that he expects the pilot programs to continue and further research to be conducted.

“I think it’s good that our school is able to conduct relevant, respectable and legal research about this issue,” said Chris Albers, junior from Breese, Illinois.

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Officials hope fiber will replace coal in eastern Kentucky

By ADAM BEAM Associated Press

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HAZARD, Ky.

In the 1970s, as the oil crisis spurred an increase in mining, Victor Justice taught people in eastern Kentucky how to mine coal.

Forty years later, his son is teaching them how to write code to build websites.

As the coal industry disappears across Appalachia, politicians and entrepreneurs have been trying to find something to replace it. On Monday, hundreds of people gathered in Hazard to hear one solution: A 3,400-mile network of fiber optic cables that state and private sector officials say will create one of the country’s fastest networks in one of the nation’s worst areas for access to high speed Internet service.

"We’re betting our future on the coming of this dark fiber," Rusty Justice said of his company, Bit Source, which builds websites.

State and federal officials christened the network Monday, the product of about three years of negotiation that spanned political and geographic rivalries in a state that has plenty of each. The network will cost about $324 million to build. Taxpayers will pay about $53.5 million, with the rest coming from private investors. Kentucky will own the network, which will begin in eastern Kentucky but eventually reach into all of the state’s 120 counties. But the Australian-based investment firm Macquarie Group and its partners will build the network and operate it for the next 30 years.

On Monday, a packed auditorium watched as the CEO of a technology company demonstrated how he can build networks that can download video in less "five milliseconds." And in an area that has a shortage of OB-GYNs, people watched a pregnant woman lay down on an exam table while a doctor in Lexington, about 100 miles away, gave her an ultrasound with telemedicine technology.

It’s the kind of benefits officials say the broadband network can bring to eastern Kentucky, which has suffered for years with little cellphone service and limited access to high-speed Internet.

"Broadband is not just about Facebook or HD Netflix," said Jared Arnett, executive director of the Saving Our Appalachian Region, a group charged with transitioning eastern Kentucky’s economy. "This is about economic opportunity."

Construction will begin this year and is scheduled to be finished by the middle of 2016 in eastern Kentucky. Other parts of the states will take longer to build. Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear called it the most important infrastructure project in the state’s history, more so than the Interstate highway system. But they cautioned that the network will only help if people use it. The network is just a means for information to travel. Businesses, school districts, hospitals, local governments and others have to build the products that would make the network worthwhile.

Earlier this month, Beshear created a governing board to oversee the construction of the network. And his state finance cabinet has put together a fiber planning guide for local communities to use as they prepare for how to use the network.

"We know that broadband is not a silver bullet. There is none. But it levels the playing field. It gives us a chance," Rogers said. "It takes away the historic barriers to better jobs: the difficult terrain, the isolation that we’ve endured these generations."

Bit Source is based in Pikeville, the center of what was once the state’s largest coal producing county. It’s the same county where, 40 years ago, Rusty Justice’s father worked for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program to train people how to operate heavy machinery and other skills needed in the coal industry.

Now Justice said he is seeing those same workers ask him for a job. Justice offered to hire 10 people, preferably out-of-work coal industry workers, and train them how to code. He got 974 applications. The company opened in March and, after 22 weeks of training, has been building websites for companies and local governments.

"We now have a small, embryonic tech sector alive and well in Pikeville," he said.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article32973237.html#storylink=cpy

Rapid Fire Marketing Enters Industrial Hemp Farm Industry

 

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CARSON CITY, NV–(Marketwired – Jun 22, 2015) -  Rapid Fire Marketing (OTC PINK: RFMK), a developer and reseller of herbal vaporizers, announced today that the Company has acquired assets, including equipment as well as a land lease, to begin Industrial Hemp farming in California.

In addition to the Company’s vaporizers, including the PocketPuffer™ Dry Herbal Vaporizer, this acquisition of equipment and land lease represents a second division of Rapid Fire Marketing’s business — Industrial Hemp Farming. It is the Company’s plan to set up multiple business divisions to diversify income streams and to get the Company to cash flow positive as soon as possible.

All of the equipment needed for the Company’s industrial hemp farm, including a skip loader tractor, 2,000 gallon capacity water truck, water storage tank which holds 25,000 gallons and harvesting equipment, was purchased by the Company through an asset purchase agreement for $90,000.

Within the next 30 days, the Company will begin preparation of farmland for industrial hemp farming. The land will be cleared of rocks and debris and plowed to enable the Company to begin planting immediately upon receiving a permit from the State of California Department of Agriculture.

The 66-acre farm is located in the Inland Empire section of California. All capital equipment is operational and ready to commence preparing land for industrial hemp farming. Four crops per year can be harvested on the available land. Net profits for an acre of hemp range from $200-400 per acre, which makes hemp one of the most valuable crops in the world. Therefore, the Company expects around $80,000 in net profits the first year once the permit is received and planting begins. As crops are sold, the profits generated will be used to obtain additional acreage for expansion of the business available for lease.

Industrial Hemp Industry

Industrial Hemp is currently legal to grow in more than 30 countries including Canada, Germany, England, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, China, Hungary and Romania. The United States currently imports all hemp products.

California is one of fifteen states (the others are Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia) that have passed pro-hemp laws or resolutions. An additional thirteen states have considered pro-hemp legislation or resolutions.

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013 into law. Section 7606 of the act, "Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research", defines Industrial Hemp as distinct from marijuana and, in states where hemp is legal to grow, authorizes institutions of higher education or State departments of agriculture to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs. Since industrial hemp has not been grown in the United States since 1957, there is a strong need for research to develop new varieties of industrial hemp that grow well in various states and meet current market demands. Every state where industrial hemp is legal to grow will provide their own licensing requirements, which is currently underway in the majority of states that have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp including California.

The Permit Process

California is currently putting the infrastructure in place to facilitate the aforementioned permit process. As of now, it is unknown how long the process will take. In the meantime, the Company is actively executing employment contracts into place as well as the infrastructure to begin industrial hemp farming as soon as it is possible.

Why Industrial Hemp?

Rapid Fire Marketing’s new business plan is the production of industrial hemp to benefit from the recent deregulation of Industrial Hemp throughout the United States. Once harvesting begins, Industrial Hemp will then be sold to processors of the fibrous plant. Industrial Hemp has no psychoactive properties in any part of the plant and is cultivated as an agricultural field crop. The plant grows as a stalk to a height of 4 to 15 feet within 90-110 days. Industrial Hemp produces more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet.

Tom Allinder, CEO of Rapid Fire Marketing, said, "This has been in process for a long time, but we are expanding our business from just vaporizers to the industrial hemp industry. It is important for our shareholders to understand that the industrial hemp farming is an addition to our business; it does not represent a change or switch in our business."

Allinder continued, "I have visited the farm and we have plenty of work to do prior to getting a permit. We are going to use a bulldozer to remove some of the rocks and level the land to make it easier to plant and harvest. At first, I was hesitant about any sort of farming in California due to the water shortage but this property has two deep productive water wells on it. The equipment is all in good working order and we are looking forward to getting to work."

Allinder went on to say, "We are in the process of setting up a new website for Rapid Fire Marketing which will cover our Vaporizer division and our Industrial Hemp Farming division in comprehensive detail. After years of work organizing the public side of this Company, I am excited about getting the business side going."

Investor Signup future Press Release Distribution by e-Mail

Shareholders and interested investors are invited to be added to the corporate e-mail database for future press releases and industry updates by signing up on the website or by sending an e-mail with "RFMK" in the subject line to investorrelations@mindspring.com.

About Rapid Fire Marketing, Inc.

Rapid Fire Marketing, Inc. is a developer and reseller of herbal vaporizers. The core strategy is to maximize revenues in the rapidly expanding vaporizer industry. The Company has also acquired assets in connection with the development of a new business division in Industrial Hemp farming. Rapid Fire Marketing also looks to invest and do joint ventures with companies with established revenue streams that are looking to grow their businesses. Rapid Fire Marketing is also looking to grow through acquisitions of companies or technologies that are synergistic with our business plan.

Safe Harbor:
From time to time, the Company may issue news releases that contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and is subject to the safe harbor created by those sections. This material may contain statements about expected future events and/or financial results that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. For those statements, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statement provisions contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and any amendments thereto. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, goals, assumptions, or future events or performance are not statements of historical fact and may be "forward-looking statements." "Forward-looking statements" are based upon expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated.

CONTACTS:
INVESTORS:
Rapid Fire Marketing, Inc.
Investor Relations
775-461-5127
investors@rapid-fire-marketing.com

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2591229#ixzz3dpFpdIK8

County’s 1st hemp seeds of 2015 planted

More, bigger plots coming, advocate says

  • By Eli Pace, New Era editor

 

 

 

If last year’s industrial hemp planting was a trial run, this year Christian County hemp farmers are going all out with what’s expected to be 85 total acres of the crop spread across four local pilot projects.

The first pilot went into the ground Friday at Jeff Davis’ Pembroke farm, said Katie Moyer, a local hemp advocate who’s been heavily involved in the push to legalize the crop, which can be used to make everything from paper to plastics.

“It was actually done in record time,” Moyer said of Davis’ second hemp planting. “He got the seed Friday and planted Friday evening.”

Winner of the chamber’s 2015 Famer of the Year award, Davis planted a half-acre of hemp last year on his 1,300-acre farm. This time, according to Moyer, he put down about five acres’ worth of seeds on a different strip of land.

That’s a small chunk of the roughly 85 acres that’s expected to be planted across the four local pilots, but depending on how far the seed goes, Moyer said, the actual acreage could be a little more or a little less.

Compared to the two half-acre pilots planted last year in Christian County, that’s quite the step up.

“Yeah, big time,” Moyer said.

If everything goes according to plan, seed for the largest of the Christian County hemp pilots could be planted as early as Tuesday. When the seeds sprout, the crop should be visible from the Pennyrile Parkway at the Crofton interchange.

“This one is going to be very big and very visible,” Moyer said, adding that, because of media coverage and increased hemp awareness, more and more Kentucky farmers are showing interest in the crop.

“People really had an opportunity to see what was going on (last year). It’s like a snowball effect. We’re definitely a lot busier now than we were last year.”

In line with that growth, Moyer and a handful of individuals have formed a new company called “Legacy Hemp.”

Reached over the phone Monday, Moyer said she was working on filing the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State for what is to be a certified seed breeder that’s being created to sell hemp seed to Kentucky farmers and facilitate some of the processing that’s involved with taking the crop to market. A company website is in the works.

“Because everything is so new, we’re really feeling things out,” she said.

Moyer explained that, more than anything, she hopes people realize industrial hemp is not marijuana.

The two are related plant species, but hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the chemical that can register as high as 30 percent or more in marijuana and produces intoxicating effects in humans.

Because of the high visibility of this year’s crops, Moyer also said she hopes any would-be pot users don’t make the mistake of thinking hemp is an illicit crop, try to smoke it or steal any of the hemp plants to sell for a profit.

Reach Eli Pace at 270-887-3235 or epace@kentuckynewera.com.

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Hemp planted at Locust Grove

Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal 10:10 p.m. EDT June 5, 2015

 

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"Today hemp is grown mostly in Canada. and the seeds and oil are imported for culinary purposes, but historically hemp was cultivated mainly for use in canvas and rope."

Locust Grove will have a hemp festival on Aug. 9. It will include a hemp village where products can be purchased, a hemp café with foods made from hemp oil and seeds, rope and paper making demonstrations, and talks by experts on hemp.

Also at the festival two films will be shown — "Hemp for Victory," a World War II-era short documentary, and "Bringing It Home," a film about the modern benefits of hemp.

Sponsors of the festival include Rainbow Blossom, Caudill Seed & New Earth. Admission to the festival is $5 per person.

Locust Grove is a 55-acre, 18th-century farm site and National Historic Landmark at 561 Blankenbaker Lane, just off River Road. The site has a mansion that was the home of the Croghan family. It served as a gathering place for George Rogers Clark and his associates and was visited by several presidents.

The property has a welcome center with a gift shop, museum and meeting space.

Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089. Follow him on Twitter at @sheldonshafer.

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the first year of state-sanctioned industrial hemp farming under the Farm Bill succeeded, and the pilot program’s second year promises to be bigger and better

On May 5th 2015, James Comer, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), held a press conference in a Lexington-based tobacco facility belonging to G.F. Vaughan, the last remaining tobacco processor in Kentucky.

His message was historic, his location symbolic: the first year of state-sanctioned industrial hemp farming under the Farm Bill succeeded, and the pilot program’s second year promises to be bigger and better, with the potential to elevate the entire state economy by restoring industrial hemp as the new “cash crop.”

Specifically, Commissioner Comer announced that KDA had approved 121 total participants, including seven universities, over 1,724 acres — a significant increase from last year.   Additionally, millions of dollars have been invested in the state’s emerging industrial hemp production and processing industries.

The revival of industrial hemp means that Kentucky is creating a new agricultural commodity market, attracting an infusion of private-sector money from both inside and outside the state.  By giving farmers, suppliers and processors the ability to hire additional staff and join the vanguard of the global resurgence in industrial hemp, Kentucky is empowering a return to its past agricultural leadership.

Kentucky is once again the American heartland of industrial hemp culture, a title it proudly held throughout history before Prohibition. But it wouldn’t have gotten here if not for the determination of its political leadership, starting with Comer himself.  He was an early advocate of legalizing industrial hemp and worked with thought leaders from both parties to win support, joining with the rich Kentucky leadership of Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Thomas Massie, Paul Hornback, John Yarmouth, and Andy Barr to move to action.

In 2014, these pilot programs were legitimized under the Farm Bill (aka The Agricultural Act of 2014).  Given the tough economic times, and particularly the economic plight of farmers, Comer’s Kentucky Proud strategy for a sustainable crop made perfect sense.  But politics intervened, and as the first 250-pound shipment of certified industrial hemp seeds from Italy arrived at the Louisville airport, the DEA seized them as if they were contraband, in direct violation of the new law.

Where others may have cowered before the federal authorities, Comer filed suit against the DEA, asserting his state’s rights to carry out its industrial hemp program. Realizing that they overstepped their bounds, the DEA released the seeds in time for planting: Jamie Comer’s quick action saved the 2014 industrial hemp growing season, setting the stage for the dramatic increase in the 2015 planting season.

GenCanna Global: Setting the Industry Standard

Hemp Project

“Young hemp plant; Source GenCanna Global”

All pilot programs in Kentucky seek to move industrial hemp farming forward, but one in particular has lead the way: GenCanna Global and its Hemp Kentucky Project.

GenCanna, working with its strategic local partners, immediately distinguished themselves by establishing the state’s first dedicated analytical laboratory in Lexington.  Since compliance with potency levels is vitally important, regulators from KDA and scientists from universities were invited into the lab to observe and confer.  The Hemp Kentucky Project is compiling significant internal data for use in future agricultural production decisions.

The Hemp Kentucky Project now employs over 40 people at facilities in Jackson and Garrard Counties.  Close working relationships with nursery and farming families have led to high expectations for the 2015 outdoor season.  Because GenCanna specializes in industrial hemp with high CBD (Cannabidiol), it is necessary to have defined protocols at all stages of the growth and processing cycle.  This new-aged approach to the ancient industrial hemp cultivation and production techniques has been enabled by the quick adoption of modern standards at both locations.

CEO Matty Mangone-Miranda quoted “ between our strategic partners with local nurseries and farms, our scientific research, and breeding and seed development at our Hemp Campus, we are literally seeding this agricultural revolution in Kentucky.  The ability to produce large amounts of CBD will fundamentally alter the supply available for both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.  This Hemp Kentucky Proud effort will catapult locals into the forefront of industrial hemp production nationally.”

GenCanna is drawing on the great availability of different farming techniques to properly understand all aspects of repurposing existing farm assets to its unique high CBD industrial hemp.  As Chris Stubbs, GenCanna’s Chief Scientific Officer, puts it “the GenCanna Production Platform (GPP) assures the standardized, repeatable quality from nursery to field to processing to formulation.”  Additionally, Chris adds “the GPP ensures our mutual responsibilities with respect to staying within the letter and intent of the laws under which we operate.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the leadership and understanding that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has shown.”

GenCanna is not alone in its efforts.  Their strategic partner, Atalo Holdings, is the largest growing cultivation in the entire pilot program with over 30 farming partners.  Atalo and GenCanna are teaming up to repurpose a former tobacco seed development facility, conveniently located in the midst of the traditional industrial hemp heartland.  This new facility, a Hemp Campus, will be a research center that will attract companies and scientists from around the world to develop knowledge of CBD and create a vast inventory of Kentucky-developed, American-certified hemp seed cultivars.

As the industrial hemp production of large amounts of CBD becomes a probability, globally renowned research scientists are noticing.  Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, CEO of ISA Scientific, an American-based group of medical experts and cannabinoid scientists with direct ties to Israel and China talked about the partnering with GenCanna and the Hemp Kentucky Project as it “paves the way for substantial improvements in treating chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening health conditions that not only afflict many Kentuckians, but hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Part of the reason why we have a global scale of what we do.”

ISA Scientific’s Dr. Perry Fine (whose roots are in Lexington) spoke of how the GenCanna-ISA partnership will immediately work on treating diabetes and chronic pain with pharmaceutical-grade CBD therapies that are affordable and accessible.

Through its Hemp Kentucky Project, GenCanna and its strategic partners are working collaboratively to produce large quantities of CBD diversified over multiple farms in Kentucky.  COO Steve Bevan, recognizing the sizable capital investments in nurseries and farms, insists that empowering farmers to “help commoditize the production of CBD such that a sustainable agricultural industry can develop to literally produce for both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical markets.  We are creating jobs, research, facility development, and industry leadership, all which require the human capital necessary to make this happen,  Steve suggests that “we’re going to need workers, technicians, accountants, support staff, scientists, everybody. And we’re going to find each of those people right here in Kentucky.”

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Wyden presses to lift federal ban on industrial hemp

Talks on Senate floor to mark National hemp History Week

From KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 7:29 PM PDT June 4, 2015  UPDATED: 7:29 PM PDT June 4, 2015

 

Sen. Wyden backs lifting ban on industrial hemp

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., takes to Senate floor to urge colleagues to lift ban on industrial hemp

 

WASHINGTON –

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Thursday again urged lifting the federal ban on industrial hemp, saying it has a wide variety of uses and economic benefits in Oregon and nationwide.

Hemp-based products contributed $620 million to the U.S. economy in 2014, but current federal regulations prohibit farmers from growing hemp in the United States, the senator noted.

“I’ve long said if you can make it and sell it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon,” Wyden said in a speech on the Senate floor in recognition of National Hemp History Week.

“In my view, keeping the ban on growing hemp makes about as much sense as instituting a ban on Portobello mushrooms," he said. "There’s no reason to outlaw a product that’s perfectly safe because of what it’s related to.”

Wyden highlighted several products made in Oregon from industrial hemp by companies such as Milwaukie-based Bob’s Red Mill, which produces protein powder from hemp seeds, Creswell-based Fiddlebumps, which makes hemp butter and other skin care products, and Eugene-based Hemp Shield, which makes deck sealant and wood finish from hemp.

Wyden introduced a bill earlier this year with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to lift the ban on growing hemp domestically. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, S. 134, would distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., also cosponsored the bill.

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