Updated: Oct 7, 2020
South Bend Industrial Hemp Update 5/11/2020
Ok, first off, let me apologize. I had every intention of doing a blog post every week or biweekly, and then life happened, COVID happened, then the calendar rolled into planting season and now we are at the 11th of May and I’m sitting down this rainy day to write to you. If you are a follower of the South Bend Facebook page and you listen to my lives on Facebook, you are a little more in the loop. If you are new to our page, welcome and thanks for joining us. We keep it real here. The good, the bad, the frustrations and the triumphs, I am here to share it all because I think the only way this industry is going to flourish is with the help everybody. As farmers, we need consumers and as consumers, you need farmers to bring you goods. Teamwork makes the dream work right?
This post is going to hit the highlights of the last two months, so if you feel like we are touching on a lot of subjects… you are very right!
First, let’s back up just a tad to March when I last wrote to you all. March was our last trade/farm show at Dilly and Doc that we were a part of before COVID reeked the havoc that it did. Can I just tell you that day was a blast? We had SO MANY PEOPLE show up to see us, talk to us, and share their story. It was motivating, uplifting and just gives you the extra boost you need to push through some of the hard days. YOU are a big reason we are continuing this hemp journey. If a deadly pandemic weren’t happening, I’d hug you all. That is how much I enjoy getting to talk to people that have tried our products or want to know more about our story. Our story is what makes us unique and what I feel so blessed to be a part of.
Let’s fast forward a few weeks to April – We get our seed order put in. Did the homework… made sure we have received legitimate COA’s, the seed has good germination rates, etc. What continues to amaze me in this hemp process is the high-quality people we get to work with. Yes, are there some shady shooters out there. No doubt, but when take the time to surround yourself with good, positive people, positive things happen. Trust me, I’m no rainbows and unicorns type girl. I know hard work is necessary to make dreams a reality, but I also know connections and the people you meet along the way make the journey special and the destination more achievable.
Another activity South Bend got to be a part of was the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo. Again, because of COVID plans were changed and it was moved to a virtual platform. It was a tough pill to swallow. I felt like we were finally picking up momentum within the community and we were looking forward to getting to meet thousands of people that come through the Farm Show. The online platform was good in the sense it made me raise my innovation skills in terms of being a small business owner. I launched a small video series about us and our products, as well as a YouTube channel to publish these videos. The Farm and Ranch show also asked me to do an hour long Zoom presentation about hemp and the economic impacts it could potentially have in Kansas. I loved it. I just want to speak to so many people. The hardest part of the quarantine was having so many speaking events cancelled. I know public safety is important, but it still doesn’t make disappointment less of a feeling. I’ll share one of my favorite quotes, which accurately sums up how I feel about hemp/ag education and advocating for agriculture in general:
We are now approaching the end of April in our story, and Aaron and my dad went out to Tennessee to pick up 1500 hemp clones. These are the clones that will be grown for flower purposes, which will then supply our hemp line for the upcoming year. You may ask, why Tennessee? The answer simply goes back to connections and quality of people. We bought our plants from the same place last year and were extremely happy with our results. It was an interesting journey for Aaron and my dad. They literally drove there picked up the plants and drove back because everything was closed. Not quite the enjoyable mini vacation we had planned a few months ago when we spoke for the clones. Life has a funny way of throwing some interesting curves your way. The plants got back to Kansas, and within four days we had them planted. Check out some our pictures below:
Aaron and Dad picking our plants before journey back.
Here we are laying the plastic and prepping the beds to plant the hemp. This helps with weed control since we cannot spray anything on our planted area.
Our beautiful plants after they arrived home. Healthy and happy!
Hemp Hound at work. Leila enjoys helping me check plants to make sure they are getting water and the plastic isn't impeding their growth.
I know I talk so much about CBD and that is because it's a big market right now, however South Bend wants to be a part of the fiber and grain industry as well. We believe this will be how Kansas and Kansas farmers can thrive in the hemp industry. If we can find a way to incorporate equipment we are already farming with, as well as our current cropping rotations, we know farmers can make this work in their operation. In 2020, we expanded our grow and we planted from seed 55 acres under a pivot to a duel purpose variety. We will be harvesting the top for flower and the bottom will be used for fiber. The industrial side of the industry will continue to grow. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey because the thought process as well as the execution, is entirely different then the small outdoor/greenhouse grow we have at the house. We planted this field the past weekend on, May 9th. Here are some pictures from the day:
Richie running our Case IH 16-Row Planter