Hemp farmers harvest first crops since legalization

PAW PAW, Mich. — The first hemp grown legally in Michigan is now being harvested across the state.

Michigan began issuing licenses to farmers back in April of this year.

At the Paw Paw Hemp Company farm, workers are harvesting nearly 30 acres of hemp.

The crops, which look a lot like small Christmas trees, are hand-bucked, thrown into a truck and hung out to dry.

"Everything about this industry so far is very labor intensive, all hand work, there are not really proven mechanized implements for this style of farming currently," Farm Manager Ben Guerrin said.

"It's exciting. It’s not without its pitfalls its challenges and its disappointments but problem solving is one thing your daily farmer deals with on a regular basis, so for us its just an exciting new adventure to add on to what we are currently doing," CFO David Conner said.

Conner dove into the industry headfirst after hemp was legalized nationwide at the end of 2018.

"We were talking early on and hemp was something we wanted to get involved in, we know its a multi-use product, there’s many many things you can do with it," Conner explained.

These plants will soon be processed for CBD oil, but in Paw Paw they are looking further into the future.

They say other uses for the hemp may include plastics, resins and the automotive industry.

"People are shortsighted if they feel the only thing we can add is to grow hemp for CBD oil, its actually everything else beyond there that’s going to make it sustainable for the Michigan farmer, and that’s the piece in the process that we want to bring to the table," Conner added.

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