2017 was a monumental year for farmers, West Virginia, and our cooperative. In a developing industry that is new to everybody, we’re becoming experts in overcoming obstacles while trying to create jobs in the mountain state. West Virginia hasn’t seen this amount of legal cannabis planted since the beginning of WWII, and our governor has signed medical cannabis legislation in April of 2017. Although the cannabis industries in West Virginia are not perfect, it shows promise to provide an economic boost while benefiting the health and wellness of our people and environment.
To prepare us for future obstacles, WVFC, Inc. CEO, J. Morgan Leach, is preparing a business pitch at the WV Good Jobs Conference to apply for funding to create “good jobs” in Appalachia through our cooperative. He also presented at the Medical Cannabis Conference last week at Mountain State Education, and frequently travels to educate folk across Appalachia about emerging opportunities to benefit our communities.
We owe thanks to the administrators at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture for working with us through the kinks in the pilot program’s procedure. We’re just a bunch of folk who believe in the cause and want to be a part of the change to make this economic shift happen, and without the helpful coordination from the WVDA, we would not have made it this far. We had a productive meeting with them last week to discuss industry needs within the state, and how we can work together to meet these needs. Afterwards, we visited our President’s industrial hemp farm in Monongalia County to check out their hemp drying facility, enjoy food and drinks with our affiliates and partners, and watch a spectrometer demonstration on our hemp material.
If you would like to contact the cooperative to inquire how you may be able to get involved with West Virginia hemp, contact Robby Kerr at (304) 917-9189.
Cooperatives are member owned and managed businesses. They exist solely at the benefit of the member. It most cases, those members have shared values aside of simply making a profit. From social responsibility to environmental integrity, cooperatives will shape their business endeavors to meet the values of their members. The most fundamental building block to a cooperative enterprise is the one member one vote system. Democracy within the organizational decision making ensures that a balance of power is maintained throughout the membership. This is of great benefit for industrial hemp as it becomes and emerging crop in West Virginia. Collating power around a bourgeoning industry create a environment for the responsible development industrial hemp and will transcend the shortfalls of traditional capitalism.
2. Capital Structure
This is an opportunity for an organization of like minded individuals to penetrate the marketplace before other private or public entities begin to invest. This is because cooperatives have a unique value proposition for raising capital collectively and competitively with certain tax exemptions that are available to for-profit coops. This can alleviate the need to trade company ownership for capital. Being first doesn’t always ensure success, but it many commodities markets, the lowest cost producers typically wins the marketplace. Getting out in front of the curve can provide a significant advantage. Especially in the farming business, which is built on respect and trust. Cooperation with member pooled assets can provide significant efficiencies for all members of the cooperative and help to leverage the profitability of the whole.
3. Sharing Resources
Sharing resources is the most significant advantage for joining a cooperative in this new industry. Growing industrial hemp as a niche crop has significant challenges. From lack of farming knowledge, infrastructure, and initial human and financial capital commitments to run a company, starting a plant industry from scratch is tough A little TEAMWORK goes a long way here. Members can donate their time as employees of the company to avoid incurring costs before operations become profitable. Collaboration on new business ideas, equipment, contacts, and aggregation of crops helps to leverage the entire organizations ability to secure stable markets. It’s all about cooperation to reduce overhead and increase profitability as the hemp industry unfolds.
4. Leveraging Market Power
As a new hemp farmer in West Virginia, you’re going to have a tough time finding the right marketplace. To secure contracts for grains, oils, or raw fiber, you’re going to have to achieve an economy of scale that can compete with existing production models. Not to mention owning or having access to value added processing facilities that can cost big bucks up front. Many farmers will have to make the decision to make their own cottage goods or succumb to the market price demanded by hemp brokers that largely do not even exist at the time. Cooperatives can help farmers by aggregating their crop with other farmers across the state to achieve an economy of scale that can demand fair market prices and ensure profitability for the farmer.
Join the West Virginia Farmers Cooperative Today!
The West Virginia Farmers Cooperative is now taking new membership applications to assist farmers who are interested in the industrial hemp pilot program in West Virginia. If that’s you, please see our New Farmer Membership Overview below for additional information.
With the successes of this legislative session, there is now certainty for industrial hemp farmers to begin planning to grow industrial hemp in 2018. The West Virginia Farmers Cooperatives is now accepting applications for new Farmer Membership for anyone who is interested in applying for a license to grow industrial hemp in the state’s pilot program. For more information, please see the link below, or feel free to contact our CEO J. Morgan Leach at 304 834-2822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we are asking people to donate monetarily, if your organization has philanthropic principals rooted in those similar to that of industrial hemp – don’t forget about Hemp Day at the Capitol on March 27th! You can sign up for a free exhibitor space to educate about hemp here, or you can check out our FB Event Page to make arrangements if you’d like to attend!
See you there! 😀
Thank you to everybody who is multiplying forces and supporting industrial hemp’s struggle to do what it was meant to do for human society and consumption.
The Pharmacy Board of the state with the highest opioid addiction rate recommends “cannabidiol” (CBD) to protect interests in future drug.
West Virginia has gained a reputation for having the worst opioid problem in the U.S. The state attorney general has been forced to sue pharmaceutical companies for “flooding” the state with pills that have contributed to the widespread addiction crisis. Companies are alleged to have “incentivized” opioid sales through illegal means and show no intentions of stopping.
Dear readers, friends, affiliates, and colleagues,
There is a sense of urgency for a bill that goes to hearing tomorrow – HB 2453. This bill will be heard by the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources tomorrow at 9AM to decide whether or not to let this bill continue through the legislative pipeline to the judiciary.
HB 2453 will expand West Virginia’s industrial hemp pilot program to include more participants. The pilot program is operating to develop market and scientific research – why wouldn’t our state allow more participants? Allowing more participants results in more diversified data and is a force multiplier!
Committee Members to potentially express your opinion to:
Google to find emails, and feel free to CC email@example.com in your message!
The WV Food and Farm Coalition, WV Farmers Market Association, and WV Farmers Cooperative passed resolutions in both the House and the Senate to make Feb. 23 Local Food and Farms day that the WV Legislature. Farmers from around the state came to support the effort and to educate law makers about the opportunities to diversify our economy with local foods and innovative crops. Creating a local food supply will not only help to diversify the WV economy, but will increase the access to fresh fruits and vegetables for local markets. Expanding farm to table operations will have a tremendous effect on the health and wellness of our state. These organizations are teaming up with local farmers to advocate for legislation this session that will expand the Cottage Foods industry, the Rabbit processing industry, and Industrial Hemp production in West Virginia. For more information on the status of the legislation, you can visit WV Food and Farm Coalition, WV Farmers Market Association, and WV Farmers Cooperative.
Hello everybody! Wanted to again extend gratitude to everybody who came out to our President’s Day meeting for some great conversation, people, and of course delicious and nutritious hemp food! As this industry has much potential to address many issues plaguing West Virginia, we cannot stop with one fun informal meeting.
Yesterday, The WV Hemp Industries Association had an awesome meeting at Starlings Coffee & Provisions to discuss our policy goals and to collaborate with other community and business leaders. The turnout and atmosphere was welcoming and fruitful, and we want to extend our gratitude to everybody who came out. We know some of you had a serious hike to make it – and it is encouraging to observe the interest and collaboration increase with time to showcase the viability of cannabis’ industrial potential. We’re so happy to play our part in this opportunity of a lifetime!
We had some tasty food made with hemp grown right here in Appalachia, live music, and plenty of networking time. Victory Hemp Foods is operating out of Kentucky, and we appreciate their valiant effort at creating Appalachian farming jobs while promoting local food’s role in health and wellness.
With one fruitful meeting comes the organization and planning of another. Our next meeting is on March 27th at the capitol! We’re going to set up around the rotunda and have speakers under the dome – and free exhibitor spaces! If you’re interested in helping us educate about industrial hemp, fill out our registration TypeForm.
Hope to see you there! Let us know how you would like to get involved in the evolution of industrial hemp:
Ordering viable hemp seed is like walking into a maze with no map. Our state rule requirement for seed procurement is essentially one word. “Certified.” The actual legal process to order the seed is much more complicated than that.
First, the word certified has two meanings. 1) Certified below 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis and 2) Certified varieties of seed from Pedigree Seed breeders. Buying seed from breeders who meet AOSCA standards ensures that your crops will be uniform for harvesting and guaranteed to meet your state’s THC requirement. Second, although a license to grow hemp under 7606 of the Farm Bill may be obtained from your state department of agriculture, you have to obtain a permit from the DEA to actually procure seeds legally. “Section 7606 of the Farm Bill specifically authorized certain entities to “grow or cultivate” industrial hemp but did not eliminate the requirement under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act that the importation of viable cannabis seeds must be carried out by persons registered with the DEA.” (NIFA Statement of Principles from USDA, DEA.)
Despite the red tape for cultivating and developing industrial hemp, the West Virginia Farmers Cooperative Inc. has successfully imported certified seeds in 2106 and currently has orders place for 2017. This is a new area of business the market will hopefully improve in the years to come. We are pushing for the development of interstate seed transfers between 7606 programs of legally permitted states. Follow us to stay updated as the seed industry for hemp unfolds.