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Hutchinson-area farmer finding success with industrial hemp

Published: Aug. 1, 2019 at 10:18 PM CDT
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This year (2019) is the first for legal industrial hemp in Kansas. And for some farmers, success has been hard to come by.

Between bouts of torrential rain this spring and sorting through legal changes, some farmers ran into challenges with the new crop.

But on his property near Hutchinson, Jade Marcum says his hemp plants are thriving.

Marcum says he has about 140 industrial hemp plants growing in his field. The reason he's growing the crop, he says, is to educate others in Kansas who might be interested in following his lead with the new crop.

"The biggest things with it is preparation," Marcum says.

He says he spent the past 15 years of his life researching hemp.

"It's a pretty amazing plant," he says.

When Kansas legalized growing the plant, Marcum bought a hemp plant from a licensed help farm in Colorado instead of buying the seed.

Instead of planting the crop on a large scale, he started in a small garden. He planted the hemp during the first week of June.

After the plants are harvested, Marcum says he'll sell his crop to a CBD company that will process oils from the plants.

He says the key to growing hemp is to start small and do your research.

"Being able to do it on a smaller scale allows us to go around to the plants individually and analyze them and look at them on a very close and personal level," Marcum says.

He says he hopes he can use his passion to inform others who may be interested in growing industrial hemp.

"The reason we wanted to do it is because it's something I've always had a passion for, its gardening," Marcum says. "And it's a flower, and on a large scale, it can make a huge impact as far as sustainability factors and the uses of the plant."

Marcum says his plants will be ready to harvest by the end of September. He says he plans to expand his garden to an indoor nursery next year. To grow hemp, you must have a license from the state.