COLLINS—With the growing of industrial hemp gaining traction across the state and the country, Chris and Paula Jeanniton of Farm in Peace, 3380 Route 39 in Collins, have planned Industrial Hemp Educational Farm Tours to educate the public on the benefits of hemp and help eliminate the stigma around the plant.
Farm in Peace will have tours of the farm Aug. 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. The event will include a presentation about the industrial hemp growing, parts of the plant, uses of the crop, their research and intended uses for hemp, misnomers of the plant and experiences during the first year of growing. A walking tour of the nine-acre hemp farm will also be part of the presentation.
“We are trying to educate people about it because there is a big misnomer about hemp and marijuana,” Chris Jeanniton said. “We want to educate people on the differences, try to get those misnomers out of there and just show that it is a great crop that can potentially be grown here for bigger opportunities than just what we are trying to do.”
While industrial hemp looks identical to marijuana, there are many differences between the two plants and Farm in Peace hopes this event shows everyone what they are doing and the benefits it has. The amount of THC within the industrial hemp is regulated to be under 0.3 percent in plants. The low THC levels make the hemp unusable as a recreational drug which allows the plant to be used in food, clothing, fuel and paper, according the the National Hemp Association.
“We have a lot of people that think we are growing marijuana and that is a big misconception,” Jeanniton said. “It has very low THC and it must be below 0.3 to legally be considered industrial hemp. If it gets above that by anything, it has to be destroyed.”
In its first growing season of industrial hemp, the farm has seen many ups and downs with the crop due to factors like the condition of the soil and the amount of rain. The hemp on the farm has seen some stunting, growing around two feet high as opposed to the usual eight foot height.
“We are hoping we can get a grain crop off of that and maybe try and experiment something with the stalks and fiber,” Jeanniton said. “We will see how it goes and improve next year now that we know a few things.”
Looking toward the future, Farm in Peace is exploring different uses for its industrial hemp ranging from making a blend of coffee, working with a local brewery to make a special hemp beer, making paper, selling bundles of stalks and using it as a soil additive.
“We would like to try and make some products ourselves,” Jeanniton said. “There are different possibilities, we are just taking it one year at a time right now seeing what we can do. Right now there really isn’t a market so we are trying to create a market out of our own crop.”
Admission to the tour will be $3 per person. Along with the educational presentation, photo opportunities, a children’s craft area, gift shop, concession stand and the Farm in Peace roadside produce stand will all be available.
For more information on the Industrial Hemp Educational Farm Tour or to purchase admission, visit the Farm in Peace Facebook page.