Our company was formed in 2015 as the WV Hemp Farmer’s Cooperative, Inc. and we believed we were specializing in a new emerging industry that included a cash crop. We were not wrong, but what we realized is that we actually limited our capacity to help all farmers in West Virginia.
We’re working on rebranding our company and mission to encompass all farmers and gardeners to cooperate collectively on getting West Virginia products on shelves. A key component of this includes developing industrial hemp supply chains, and apart of our mission in this is to educate communities and officials about the potential hemp has to prop our economy in an environmental and profitable way. This includes attracting farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and other downstream businesses to join our cooperative to build West Virginia agriculture by sharing resources, knowledge, and networks.
This year we assisted research and development along side the private sector, university research, and state governments. Although a successful first year and generating a lot of interest, we experienced some inefficiencies that taught us how to improve future operations. One of these inefficiencies included our farmer’s seed source being imported from Canada and Italy. Heirloom seeds need to be explored as an option for hemp seed because it is cheaper and the genetics are tailored to the environment already, as opposed to imported seeds, for example.
It is a process, but an imperative one for our state’s budget, our health, and our farmers’ jobs! In 2017, we will be largely participating in WV’s hemp pilot program, as well as bringing on other farmers and downstream businesses. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or would like to talk in more detail about how we may be able to help you. Thanks for reading.