LAMESA, Texas — On Saturday, LoneStar Life Sciences Agritech held a forum with farmers in the area about hemp at the Lamesa Dilenting Company.
Matt Attwood, president and founder of the company, said he had visited Lamesa prior to the forum, and talked to farmers about their interest in growing hemp. He said he felt he needed to come back to explore options with farmers after he said they have been suffering.
“West Texas is the cotton king and so we’re here to help West Texas cotton farmers convert some of the acreage to hemp,” Attwood said.
The 2018 Farm Bill passed in June. The bill allows the production, manufacturing, and retail sales of hemp crops and products in Texas.
Vicki Vaszauskas with the Lamesa Delinting Company said she wants to help the farmers in her area explore new options.
“Happy to bring my farmers some knowledge to where they can figure out what they want to do with their land,” Vaszauskas said.
Attwood said growing hemp is profitable and sustainable. He said he had also done previous business with hops, a plant primarily used for beer, and has background in medical manufacturing and consulting.
“We knew that hops has a medical extract called xanthohumol, so if we started growing hops, and started extracting xanthohumol, we would already be infrastructure ready for growing hemp and extracting CBD,” Attwood said.
Attwood said he wants to create a AgriTech Hemp Farmer Alliance.
“There’s power in numbers. So when we put everybody in the same group we have coordination between all the farmers,” Attwood said. “But if we can help farmers grow hemp and we can then get that vertical from, not only the grow, but also the extraction and the oil and then the oil going to the products–we’re completely covered all through the same vertical.”
Farmers in the area, like Eric Herm and Douglas Stafford, said they are interested in possibly growing hemp, despite the high expense of getting started with hemp.
“Cotton just doesn’t seem to be working in this area right now,” Stafford said. “We can grow anything out here. It’s just a matter if we can get a market for it and have the infrastructure behind us.”
“I think it’s really an exciting time for agriculture and there’s also a little bit of apprehension going into something being new, and it is a lot of money to invest in a crop,” Herm said.