SOUTH WOODSTOCK, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont farmers are gearing up for a big year when it comes to hemp. As of March there were already more than 300 registered hemp farmers on more than 3,500 acres. Addison, Rutland and Caledonia Counties are going all in on hemp, with more than 300 acres being farmed in each of those counties. Adam Sullivan introduces us to a farmer in South Woodstock who is growing hemp for the first time.
Goats, ducks, chickens and beef cattle. Diversifying is one way the Barr Farm in South Woodstock has stayed afloat for more than 100 years.
"We are a very diversified farm, so it was one more thing to add to our repertoire," said the farm's Tina Tuckerman. The 5th generation farmer has 100 baby hemp plants that she is getting ready to put in the ground. About 1,500 more clones are on a truck from Colorado that will be delivered to Tuckerman and 16 other hemp farms in the area as part of a newly formed hemp co-op.
This year is the first time hemp is legal to grow in the United States under the farm bill. Tuckerman says it's uncharted waters and she's learning as she goes. "I'm going a lot online. I'm doing a lot with YouTube. I'm finding other farmers who have already gone through some of this and asking them lots of questions," she said.
Tuckerman say the baby plants will be put in the ground in the next couple of weeks -- weather permitting -- and she says it will be about three months before they reach maturity.
"They end up with the best artisan CBD you'll find probably anywhere in the country," Tuckerman said.
CBD is a component of cannabis that advocates say has medicinal uses, but does not get you high like marijuarna. State agriculture officials say it's a booming market that the Green Mountains could greatly benefit from with it's well-known Vermont brand.
"When you go in a store, maybe in another state, and you see the Vermont label on it, you know that the hemp has been grown with quality and care," said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbets.
He says the state is getting three to five inquires a day, with hundreds of farmers already licensed to grow hemp. But Tebbetts says it's important to have a plan in place before the planting begins. "Make sure you have a buyer lined up if you plan on selling your hemp to a processor," he said.
Tuckerman already has big ideas for her farm. "We could end up making beeswax salve with maple in it or cheese with CBD in it," she said.
A crop that will, no doubt, be growing over the next several years.