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US: Midwest grower sounds alarm over hemp pitfalls and promise

Farmer beware. Pitfalls and genuine promise make up a hemp cauldron set to high boil in 2019—yet the temperature will get even hotter, warns producer Chris Adams. “There is no secret knowledge about this crop: The real truth is it’s a crapshoot right now.”

Going no holds barred on profit, genetics, seed costs, mortality, and more, Adams offers a blunt assessment from the front lines of hemp farming, and urges growers toward a hard reality check. “Who do you trust? You better take a hard look because there’s so much going on in hemp.”

After four years of growing experience and a host of invaluable lessons learned, Adams, 32, is emerging as a leading hemp producer in the Midwest. He tends a diverse crop roster on 9,000 acres located on both sides of the North Dakota-Minnesota line in fertile Red River Valley soils: sugarbeets, hard red spring wheat, hemp, soybeans, and six varieties of specialty dry beans. Bucking the middleman, Adams also operates an export business, and delivers crops (via containers loaded and sealed on-farm) straight from his fields to the doorsteps of foreign buyers. Convention ranks low on Adams’ priority list and his maverick approach afforded early entry into seed hemp in 2016, soon followed with hemp for CBD purposes.


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