Growing Cannabinoids on a Cranberry Farm
Good Day from Canna Cran Farm LLC, in Carver, MA. I am a second generation cranberry grower, whom purchased half the farm from family in 2018. The farm consists of 26 acres, 11 of which are cranberry bogs, a series of water holes totaling appx 10 acres, and now, 2 acres of CBD hemp.
After working in other industries, namely in power plants, excavating, various trades, and starting another engineering services small business, I found myself most passionate being in the great outdoors farming the Earth. Plus you get to play with trucks, loaders, tractors and other farm equipment as part of making a living, not bad!
Once a very fair and lucrative cranberry industry thrived in Massachusetts with old timers even squeezing in acreage in their backyards, planting in a cedar swamp, or accompanying a bog around a kettle pond, just to get growing. Fast forward many years, most growers, other then large growers who inherited large family farms generation after generation, have been forced to have a second job, or business to sustain. Prices dropped drastically over the last decade forcing some out of the industry. This has also been caused by greed in the corporate world that governs pricing, a drop in demand by consumers, and oversupply coming from Wisconsin and Canada fueled by the deceitful acts of said “corporate world.”
When my wife, Holli, and Phil Nardini, a friend from Vermont, heard of the legalization of hemp, they started conversation and inspired me to try growing Organic, CBD hemp. At this time a year or two ago hemp biomass was fetching $30-$65 per pound @ 10% CBD content. I became very interested as this was another way of diversifying the farm, being in the great outdoors, helping others heal, and ultimately generating more revenue from the farm to help pay the bills. After significant research, a lot of work and due diligence, I grew an acre of CBD hemp for the 2018 season.
I was lucky enough to own trucks and equipment to help build the fields and make things easier. My advice to newcomers is to not just look at growing hemp and associated costs on paper and think you will necessarily profit that much. Consider it a starting point into a new venture that could reward you over the years to come.
I know many farmers are struggling in other industries too, which I totally get. However, try not to develop the “green rush” mentality, as nothing good comes without significant work and dedication. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you sow any Organic CBD hemp seeds. It is a rigorous grow cycle and requires a solid amount of care and TLC.
I would recommend starting small and be realistic with your expectations. Legislation is changing daily on hemp, as are state rules and regulations, etc. Be mindful and proactive.
Our first year was fairly successful considering it being the first year and market challenges that came about mid season. We are fortunate to have a contract moving forward, which I also HIGHLY recommend. If you do not have a contract, your only other means of selling is to make your own products for sale.
As for the future, we will be continuing to cultivate hemp. Genetics in seed are very important and research should be done if you are thinking of growing. The last two important challenges I see moving forward as a cultivator are finding DEA labs locally to test our plants and harvesting at the proper interval in order to get the max CBD level without going hot, above 0.3% THC.
Probably the most rewarding part of entering in the CBD hemp industry has been working alongside other growers and industry personnel who are working together to ultimately create an established and sustaining industry. You just don’t find that in other industries. People are willing to help and one should do their part. It is very rewarding. Not to mention, your final product could be helping someone with pain, anxiety, sleep problems, cancer, opioid dependency, Parkinson’s, seizures, and the list goes way on.
In conclusion, the hemp industry will have to undergo the growing pains of ANY industry. CBD hemp products have made a huge cannonball into the pool of the United States market. Only time will tell when supply and demand massage themselves out and growers, processors, politicians, and industry personnel continue their efforts to mold a CBD hemp market that is stable and profitable. We would love to hear from you and can be reached on Facebook @ Canna Cran Farm and www.cannacranfarm.com.