Lack of Seeds Leave Hemp Farmers Restless

Empty hemp field

Baby hemp plant breaking through the groundColorado hemp farmers were as eager as anyone to start planting industrial hemp on their test plots, but lack of available seeds has left two Montezuma County farmers stuck in a holding pattern.

“We are having an impossible time getting seed,” said Merle Root of Pleasant View.

Root and fellow industrial hemp farmer, Scott Perez, of Mancos had both bet on getting their seeds from vice president of US Hemp Oil in California, Chris Boucher. They also figured he would front the water bill for the farming project as well.

“U.S. Hemp will not contact us and won’t return our calls,” Root said. “I’m looking everywhere to find seed. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am at this point.”

Director of Industrial Hemp in Colorado, James McVaney, said he too had attempted to contact various seed suppliers, but with no luck.

“The seed people are still incommunicado,” he said.

Sharon Stewart from a local industrial hemp advocacy group called Hemp Talks isn’t sure that industrial hemp will be grown in Montezuma County at all this year seeing as the planting window fir the crop will soon be closed. “We are trying to source seed from all over Colorado and Canada,” she said.

It doesn’t help matters that the DEA still makes it hard for these industrial hemp farmers to obtain the seed they need by seizing shipments being brought into the US. Last fall Mr. McVaney told local farmers they would most likely be forced to cross a gray legal line to get the hemp seeds they needed, stating that industrial hemp is still classified as a controlled substance in the eyes of the feds. The US House of Representatives blocked the DEA from using funds to interfere in the legal growth and research of industrial hemp.

So now back to Scott Perez and Merle Root, who both fronted $100 to apply with state agriculture officials in order to grow their industrial hemp test plots; both eager famers who planned to grow a specific amount of industrial hemp, (Perez 1 acre and Root 10 acres). Other farmers had planned to grow hemp on lots as well, but waited a little bit to see how it went for the others. Seed availability, federal laws, and water issues are at the forefront of their concerns. Looks like right now we’ll just have to wait and see, but keep following current hemp news and stories to watch how this unfolds. I’m guessing once federal regulations let up a bit, the seeds will be there, and Root and Perez will finally have their industrial hemp.

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