Author Topic: Hemp rush begins on West Texas farms  (Read 151 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Hemp rush begins on West Texas farms
« on: July 09, 2019, 09:37:09 AM »
Houston Chronicle by John MacCormack 7/8/2019

MONAHANS — Village Farms produces millions of pounds of tomatoes a year in huge, high-tech greenhouses in West Texas, supplying grocers including H-E-B, Albertsons and Walmart.

But with the recent easing of both state and federal restrictions on growing hemp, it is now converting some of the greenhouse capacity for the state’s hottest new crop, with more expansion likely to follow.

“In the U.S. and Canada, in three to four years, we’ll be a hemp and cannabis company,” Village Farms president Mike DeGiglio said. “Two years ago, it was all vegetables. We’re now converting half of it to hemp.

“No one in the U.S. can make any money anymore in vegetables. We can’t win that war,” he added, noting the company will move the vegetable production to Mexico.

Village Farms International, based in the Canadian province of British Columbia, is leading the Texas green rush to grow hemp, as first reported in the Big Bend Sentinel.

While both marijuana and hemp are in the cannabis genus, hemp only has trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that makes people high.

Despite this, farmers weren’t allowed to grow hemp for decades. The ban was lifted last year, clearing the way for production of a plant that is widely praised for its fiber and the nutritional value of its seeds. Industrial hemp is used to make rope, clothing and cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which is thought to possess medicinal qualities for a number of ailments.

At the Village Farms operation in Monahans, half of one 15-acre greenhouse that until recently nurtured tomatoes and cucumbers is being refitted for hemp.

“For growing in a greenhouse, West Texas is very good. Very dry, high light and at 5,000 feet, cool nights,” DeGiglio said. The company has operated the greenhouses there since 1992.

And when it comes to hemp in Texas, Village Farms has a big head start: It already has the seeds, the know-how acquired in Canada and 130 acres of greenhouse space in Marfa, Fort Davis and Monahans.

More: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/local/article/Hemp-rush-begins-on-West-Texas-farms-14060044.php
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