To boost local small organic farmers, a Colorado-based hemp co-operative has launched an initiative that offers a range of support if the farmers meet its criteria. The initiative’s main objective is to lockout intermediaries who have taken over every aspect of the hemp value chain.
Bill Althouse, a member of a group of Colorado hemp veterans who are donating their time and expertise toward the initiative said there are no genuine farmers in hemp as investors are running the whole industry. She added that farmers could earn a decent income and benefit immensely from the industry if they are the main stakeholders in the hemp supply chain.
Fat Pig Society, the worker co-operative based in Ft. Collins, is endorsing cloned plant cutting instead of seeds to maintain stability by meeting the THC limits, an issue many farmers continuously grapple with. Althouse said the key is to reduce risks for farmers, and Fat Pig Society wants to help with that.
The initiative entails a farm-table enterprise technique to be regulated by the US Agricultural Department and will be handed over to hemp producer cooperatives owned by farmers.
The Fat Pig Society members include Althouse, one of the pioneers of CBD production in the US, sustainability and organic hemp expert Iginia Boccalandro, and Yamie Lucero, farmer and FPS sales representative.
FPS partners supporting the initiative include two genomics project experts Terry Moran, of Moran Sales and Ag Consulting, the brainchild of the Colorado seed certification program, and Barbara Campbell, property attorney specializing in horticulture.
Although FPS is currently working with just four farms, there is room for expansion in Colorado’s 142 small struggling farming businesses.
To be part of the co-operative’s initiative, eligible farmers must have official USDA Natural Organic Program certification, engage in regenerative crop rotation, and supply the local market. Another requirement is to have hemp as the only single crop in a farmer’s rotation.
Althouse said that so far, the initiative has made tremendous progress, including saving one dairy farm last year when it earned a whopping $50,000 from one acre of hemp, rescuing it from bankruptcy.