Colorado hemp farmers are reeling from the potential loss of this season’s produce. Early this week, temperatures shot down below the freezing point. This led to widespread snow cover that could potentially lead to massive losses for the farmers and industry at large.
Also hit were outdoor marijuana growers. The damages are likely to lead to a shortage in the supply of THC and CBD extraction raw materials. This was the same case last year when an early freeze in October led to farmers counting significant losses.
Dr Jon Vaught, CEO and co-founder of Front Range Biosciences, a cannabis biotech firm that is based in the state, termed the early freeze as catastrophic. According to him, everything that was out in the cold froze.
Harvey Craig, a hemp farmer in Moffat, South Colorado said that the Wednesday morning temperatures hit the high 20s. About 30% of his crops were exposed, and he chose to cover them with shade cloth, plastic, and canvas. He said that despite plastic hampering the development of flowers, it was better than nothing.
While echoing Dr Vaught, Craig reiterated that the early freeze was devastating. He hopes that the damages do not put farmers over the edge as the hemp industry is a difficult struggle.
According to Matt Haddad, CEO, and founder of Trilogene Seeds, a Longmont based hemp seed company that partners with farmers all over the state, the San Luis Valley experienced temperatures dipping to about 26 degrees in Damage.
Matt estimates that around 20-30% of his farm was damaged or lost. His hemp field spans over 26 acres. He, however, hopes for the best as the cold happened to be around for just a day.
According to Dr Vaught, the early freeze is evidence of variable climate change that makes navigating an agricultural setting a challenging task.