Cliff Thomason, Hemp Farmer, Oregon

“The future of hemp is an opportunity for everyone.”

HHW: What led you to choose hemp as a crop?

CT: Oregon was finally permitted to grow hemp in 2015. I was approached by a friend who told me about it who said it was a great opportunity if he could only get seed and land. I said I could get seed and land. We formed a company, got investors, got seeds and got land. We planted and harvested.

HHW: What varieties and how many acres of hemp did you grow in 2015?

CT: We germinated seven different cultivars and planted a German variety on a 40-acre farm, planting about three acres.

HHW: What soil and environmental conditions did you grow in?

CT: A former vineyard with a great climate.

HHW: Did you grow in conjunction with an institution of higher learning? Which one?

CT: We grew under the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

HHW: As this was a pilot crop, what qualities were you testing?

CT: Water usage, acclamation, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ratios, cannabidiol (CBD) percentages, predators.

HHW: Were you able to utilize your 2015 crop? How?

CT: Yes; It was used in IPA hemp beer, cosmetics, herbal extracts.

HHW: What varieties and how many acres of hemp will you grow in 2016?

CT: We grew five varieties; Finola, which is an oilseed variety that we will grow as open-pollinated; Four CBD-dominate varieties will be grown for their flower, and 20 acres for seed.

HHW: Are the soil and environmental conditions expected to be the same?

CT: Even better.

HHW: Will you grow in conjunction with an institution of higher learning?

CT: No. Oregon Department of Agriculture oversees our hemp program. 

HHW: What is the planned use for your 2016 crop?

CT: Seed production and hemp extracts.

HHW: What has been your biggest success(es) in farming hemp to date?

CT: Our biggest successes in Oregon have been defeating a state house bill that would have banned hemp production in three counties including mine; creating the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association; and passing a house bill that expanded hemp production. All three were done by Courtney Moran; our friend, our attorney, our lobbyist.