Hemp farmers evolve business plan with limited options to sell crop

Ag Report

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin hemp growers are in the midst of harvest season. This industry continues to evolve as farmers navigate the growing and selling of this crop.

“My husband and I are 5th generation family farmers both growing up in the dairy industry. Always having an interest in growing and raising things” says Peggy Coffeen of P’ri CBD.

When hemp became a legal crop in Wisconsin again, the Coffeens applied for a license. “A bit of excitement for trying something new in agriculture. We also had a family member who had really great success with CBD oil” she says.

So they devoted some land at their farm outside De Pere to test the crop. The plan was to “Market it as a cash crop. Grow it, harvest it and send it on its merry way” Coffeen explains.

But, like many other new hemp growers in our state, the couple’s business plan has evolved. Coffeen elaborates saying “At this point, the market for hemp as a cash crop has not come to fruition. There were some big projections per acre. That market has not rebounded to sell this on the open market so to speak”.

Now, Overland Acres is growing hemp for their own line of CBD products called P’ri CBD.

“For us, this has been a good fit. Next year, we may start to see that turn in a higher value of the flower for processing. The strain we focus on is for CBD. People can grow for fiber, sustainable textiles and building materials, hemp seed for oil and body care products” she explains.

They have also significantly reduced the number of plants in the ground, but that has not impacted overall yield. “This year [we have] 300 plants. Last year we did 900 plants, that was a wake-up call with the labor involved. Last year we thought they grew well, in a poor growing year. So, we thought we will scale back. This year, maybe it’s the better growing year or maybe the fact I told my husband I was taking over the growing” she says with a laugh ” but our plants got three times as big. We have had a heck of a crop grown on our farm this year.”

As farmers continue to explore this emerging crop there are a lot of lessons learned. Coffeen says on an operation their size most of the work is done by hand. That starts with the planting. They purchase seedlings and plant them around Memorial weekend. Then, over the summer growing season mowing, and weed control is also hand or small equipment labor. The harvest is also a manual process. Flowers are picked and brought to the homemade drying racks in the couple’s drying facility.

To learn more about the products made from this hemp visit https://pricbd.com

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