LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – With corn and soybean prices rising, Nebraska farmers seem to be sticking to what works and what pays off.
A group in Lancaster County hopes their example can lead to greater crop diversification.
Hemp grown on Rosemary Reeds Land, a generation farm in northwest Lancaster County, grows lush and tall.
She hopes that her plot, and her relative success in growing the plant on a first try, will inspire other Nebraska farmers to give it a try, even if it’s long-term.
“We know that corn and soybean prices have gone up a lot right now, no one is going to do that right now,” Reed said. “That’s why we experiment.”
The farm began its first season, testing two different types of hemp seeds, for both fiber and grain. It’s a seemingly safer choice for farmers risking a crop getting hot or having too much THC than growing plants intending for the endless amounts of CBD oil products on the market.
Her model lets her do everything organically. Without pesticides and with rainwater to make it grow. At its core, hemp is essentially a weed, so their philosophy is to treat it as such.
“The maintenance effort is really low,” said Dakota Dzerk, the operations manager. “It’s pretty drought tolerant and I didn’t have to do anything other than plant the seeds.”
The Group’s long-term goal is to build a processing facility in Lancaster County. You already have the land near the Kawasaki plant, but the venture would likely require multiple partner farms and millions in funding.
Nebraska currently has a hemp processing facility, but it’s 350 miles away in Sydney.
“To motivate farmers, they don’t have to drive six to eight hours to get to another location,” Reed said.
The farm will host interested farmers, several of whom already exist, with open houses to demonstrate the harvest and hopefully generate more interest.
“Everything is fine here, very easy to grow,” said Alice Reed, another partner of the farm. “We did it all by hand, basically sown like grass seeds and we did.”
They plan to harvest their hemp crop over the next few weeks and sell it to a processing facility in Kansas.
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