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US (MO): Riegels Farms: from dairy products to hemp

Nestled along the eastern banks of Dubois Creek is Riegel Dairy, a 73-year-old dairy farming operation that is pioneering a new future in hemp.

“Overall, it has been a rough five years (for the dairy market),” said Jon Riegel, a grandson of Fred and Alice Riegel, who received the farm’s first dairy cow as a wedding gift. “We were looking for other revenue to keep the farm going.”

Brian Riegel, brother to Jon, oversees the Holstein dairy operation. He said the last four years the dairy market has experienced revenue declines of 20 to 25 percent. 
With more than 1,000 acres of rural Washington farmland, Riegel Dairy, which continues to be home to 680 dairy cattle, is now one of nearly 200 registered hemp producers in the state, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The Riegels also raise traditional row crops of wheat, corn and soybeans on 850 acres. The Riegel family became interested in the hemp industry when Jon Riegel purchased a hemp flower from Missouri Hemp Co. in Warrenton in fall 2019. He said he quickly realized the benefits of hemp after making it into an oil. 


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