Hemp still considered viable crop for SLV

A large field of hemp is shown growing in the San Luis Valley. Supporters of the industry say it is still a viable rotational crop here, particularly due to a need for less water than alfalfa and many other crops. Courtesy photo

VALLEY– Hemp in the San Luis Valley still has a strong future, according to Dion Oakes, who assists local growers and operates a hemp grain seed processing facility, High Mountain Pure.

With the total acreage count across the US declining in 2022 there are still many farmers still looking towards hemp as a rotational crop, Oakes said. This year the SLV had a decline in acreage just like everywhere else but the processing facilities are getting set in place to support a promising industry for SLV farmers. 

Global Fiber processing has officially set up their fiber processing facility to take the hemp stalks and turn them into many value-added products, such as hemp hurd, hemp fiber long and short as well as so much more.

High Mountain Pure is set up and converting hemp grain seed for many food products such as hemp hearts, hemp seed oil and hemp protein. 

Formation Ag has been operational here in the SLV for many years as they play a key part in manufacturing the processing machinery along with so much more value-added avenues. They have built many fiber processing lines for local US facilities as well as shipped many overseas. 

CBD production in the SLV is still going strong with many farms like Cloud Co producing finished products all the way from farming in the SLV to making finished bottled products, Oakes said.

“The SLV is set up for a promising long-term future for hemp production from the farming all the way through to the processing and finished products,” Oakes said. “But there are still some educating to do with the FDA and USDA to get grain and fiber hemp as a true agricultural crop that farmers can grow.

“Current laws and regulations are restricting farmers from expanding this industry to the potential it has for all U.S. farmers. Global Fiber as well as High Mountain Pure are offering farming contracts for the fiber and grain production to feed their processing facilities so we would encourage local farmers to come talk more about hemp with your local processing facilities.”

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