WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Hemp harvest is here for some in Kansas.
“I went with hydroponics versus soil growing. That’s my research and that’s what I’ve been comparing,” said Sarah Stephens with Tallgrass Hemp & Cannabis.
Sarah just got her license in April.
The crop for Sarah and Tallgrass Hemp & Cannabis is small. They have dozens of plants growing indoors, and they will harvest the floral material for the oils that will go into CBD oil.
They are harvesting this week after getting approval from the state.
“So once you get your approval you have 10 days to do the harvest and then report back to the Kansas Department of Agriculture that it’s finished within another five days,” said Stephens.
Many outdoor growers are waiting now for the crop to mature or for the fields to dry. This week dozens of Kansas law enforcement officers stopped by the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Sedgwick County to learn about hemp growing and the licensing of growers.
Beth Crawford with the Missouri Hemp Association stopped by the event and says Hemp is catching on in Kansas as well as the Midwest.
There are 1,400 listed in the Kansas Hemp Pilot project. And there are now 34 licensed processors in the state.
“So we do have some data, but it’s not a wealth of data so farmers are a little bit hesitant,” said Crawford. “And hemp is part of the cannabis family so there is a little misunderstanding of what hemp is. So hemp is a non-intoxicating plant.”
Crawford says education is key with the new cash crop. She points out there are different crops that will be harvested this year.
Hemp grown for CBD oil is harvested primarily from the buds or the floral materials. Other varieties of hemp grow taller and get nearly the height of Kansas corn crops. Those taller varieties of hemp are often sought after for the fiber in the stalks.
“For us, the harvest is a lot of trimming,” said Stephens. “All the stuff we cut off, we stacked to dry the biomass. And we hung up the plants.”
Until it is sold, they hang the plants in a dehumidified room with air circulating. Stephens is now looking for a processor to buy the crop here in Kansas.
“We want to find a Kansas processor,” said Stephens. “Kansas processors. But just like the growers, they are in a new phase too and they are still trying to figure it out and so are we.”