Cliff Thomason, Hemp Farmer, Oregon

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

What led you to choose hemp as a crop?

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.

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

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

What soil and environmental conditions did you grow in?

A former vineyard with a great climate.

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

We grew under the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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

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

Were you able to utilize your 2015 crop? How?

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

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

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.

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

Even better.

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

No. Oregon Department of Agriculture oversees our hemp program. 

What is the planned use for your 2016 crop?

Seed production and hemp extracts.

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

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.