Pleasant Hill Farmer Sharing Knowledge, Expanding Hemp Farming

By Benjamin Cox on June 9, 2020 at 6:29pm

A Pleasant Hill farmer is making his own way with a unique crop and business. Sixth-generation farmer Dennison Collard is expanding both production and genetic lines of his hemp crop this year. Collard got on board with the crop last year after it became legal to grow for licensed farmers in the state for the first time since the World War II era.

Collard says he is expanding his crop and lines to market medicinal oils. “We grew only CBD hemp last year. It is just one cultivar, which is just like corn and soybeans. There is many different varieties [of hemp] you can plant with many different pros and cons to each. We are venturing into three different CBD genetics this year. All will have a different minor cannabinoid profile. The other 113 cannabinoids will have different concentrations in those genetics. They each have their own properties that can treat different things. The fourth genetic we are planting is a CBG or Cannabigerol. It’s just another minor cannabinoid that many have been producing in higher quantities.”

Collard says that the CBG is proving to be more effective for certain medicinal purposes in clinical research. Collard says that his small operation is all family-run and some amounts of processing is done by hand. The crop takes up about 3 acres on Collard’s ground near Pleasant Hill. He says the process is very time consuming compared to other row crops but he does foresee it becoming a larger cash crop for farmers as the process and technology for farming of it develop. “Once the USDA allows hemp seed as a grain supplement for livestock, I foresee demand increasing exponentially. Right now, there is a really small niche market for it – pressing hemp seed oil and using that for a carrier oil for your cannabinoids, and then human consumption of the seed which are very nutritious.”

He says he hopes that the oils continue to get clinical trials and more uses are found medicinally for the plant. He says farmers are also finding valuable usage for the crop as hemp helps to replenish and bioremediate soil and it functions as a good rotation crop. Collard continues to develop tinctures and topical solutions for his business Native Hemp Extract which he sells online and has a retailer in Missouri. He hopes that he will have a market here in Illinois soon.

According to Cannabis Business Times, the profit potential of CBD could approximately generate $45,203 per acre in revenue, compared with $773 for corn.