Hemp farmers are some of the hardest workers out there, putting in more hours of work than many other professions. In fact, the idea that hemp farmers just plant some seeds and then sit back and let things grow is not realistic. The truth is, hemp farmers work an average of 80 hours each week.
In fact, the many hours hemp farmers spend learning and researching are both preparation and practice for them to work hard. This is because of the many tasks hemp farmers must carry out, and it is so much more than just planting some seeds and watching plants grow.
Here is a sample of an ordinary day in the life of a hemp farmer throughout the seasons.
A Day in the Life of a Hemp Farmer
When you are a hemp farmer, no two days are the same and the work varies greatly by the season.
The first thing a hemp farmer does during spring is research seed strains and select those that are best suited for extraction and those that are best suited for the local climate. In addition, a hemp farmer finds the best strains for smokable flower, based on flavor, look, CBD content, vigor, and the terpene profile.
Next, the hemp farmer will check the greenhouse and the field equipment and tools. If there are any issues, the hemp farmer will fix them right away so the season runs as smoothly as possible. A hemp farmer’s day can be completely thrown off when issues crop up, such as a broken piece of equipment, with the most important among those being irrigation pumps and fittings. And trust that there will be issues! Many days, the plan for the day is thrown off course due to the equipment or to weather conditions.
Weather can be a significant issue. Hemp farmers must be constantly aware of what the weather will be, often planning 10 days out. During a wet season, hemp farmers watch for a multi-day dry spell that will allow the fields to drain before any planting can be done or equipment is run over them. This prevents compaction of the soil. If it’s a dry season, hemp farmers wait until there is a good chance of rain and then they plant the day prior in order to take advantage of the rain. Plants actually respond better to natural rain than they do irrigation, so watering with the rain is a benefit.
Knowing what the weather is like is important, especially for the next early spring task – taking soil samples. Hemp farmers take soil samples in the field to determine where the nutrients are at. Then, based on those test results, the hemp farmer will amend the soil with organic matter. This is carried out after the cover crop has been plowed under and left to break down for a few weeks.
Planting starts mid-June, ensuring there is plenty of warmth and long enough days, because hemp is photo-period sensitive.
Each day of summer begins with checking the irrigation, making sure the water is getting to every plant and that there aren’t any leaks. Rodents love to chew through irrigation lines looking for water. As the hemp farmer is checking the irrigation, they also inspect the plants to look for any sign of pests, disease, or plants that may be male. If there any plants with these issues, they are removed.
Next, it’s time to prune the smokable hemp, removing the bottom third of the branches on the plant. This increases the amount of light that can penetrate the plant, concentrating the CBD and flower bud production toward the tops of the plants.
Harvest is the most intense time of the season.
As the flowers mature, weekly samples are taken of them, dried, and sent to state-certified laboratories to measure the cannabinoid content. Hemp farmers take samples in a crisscross pattern across the field in order to have a more homogenous sampling. The THC levels are tracked and, when they are just below the legal limit (0.03%), it’s time to harvest.
Harvesting involves cutting down whole plants, bringing them to a drying barn, cutting off individual stems, and hanging them to dry in a well ventilated building, sometimes with industrial humidifiers running to reduce the humidity that builds up from the plants expiring, as well as to reduce the chance of mold forming. When hemp is ready, it’s ready, and needs to get out of the field right away. If not, the hemp farmer runs the risk of the THC levels rising.
Then, after the plants have dried for a couple of weeks, the flowers are “bucked” off the stems. They are then either trimmed for the smokable market or used for lipid extraction. Most hemp farmers take whole plants and grind them up – flower, stems, leaves, and all – and send that to an extraction facility as biomass. However, we at Rel Hemp use lipid extraction, which is much gentler, and uses no chemical solvents. At the same time, it is less efficient at extracting the CBD. So, by using the flower only, we get the highest concentration of CBD out of it because the stems and leaves only contain a nominal amount of cannabinoids.
Finally, after the flowers have been trimmed, they go into curing. This means they are sealed up and, twice a day, the container is opened to release the CO2 that builds up. Doing this cures the flower, making the smoking experience so much better and smoother.
Then, for us at Rel Hemp, the next phase of the season is connecting with customers through my online store, and with wholesale customers.
Working Hard to Bring You the Best
We work hard to bring you the best hemp possible. While it’s tempting to buy CBD / CBG strains from other farms to increase our product offerings, we believe that when you buy our flower you are putting your trust in us and in our high stands for premium-quality, responsibly grown flower and exceptional CBD products.
And we take that trust seriously.
Which is why, as hemp farmers, we put in eighty hours of work each week.
Our hard work shows through in each of our CBD products and in our smokable hemp. See for yourself – browse our menu.