The above Putnam County farmer checks out some of the finished industrial hemp brought by Todd Hasson of L6 Solutions as part of his presentation to area growers. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)
The above Putnam County farmer checks out some of the finished industrial hemp brought by Todd Hasson of L6 Solutions as part of his presentation to area growers. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

OTTAWA — Right now, the State of Ohio is working out the rules and regulations for growing industrial hemp. This weed, as it is more colloquially known, is used in the production of CBD oil, the popular wellness ingredient that promises a measure of pain relief and other benefits.

Hemp, to be clear, should not be confused with its closely related cousin, Marijuana. Though it looks, smells, and reportedly grows in a very similar manner, hemp does not contain THC, the active ingredient that causes the high associated with marijuana. Also, unlike medical marijuana, CBD oil derived from hemp is available over the counter in Ohio right now.

And, where there are legal sales of agricultural-derived products, there are agricultural producers wondering how much they might earn if they diversified their crops. Todd Hasson, co-founder of L6 Solutions, a national contracting, marketing, and producer-supporting industrial hemp company, spoke to a gathering of farmers at the Putnam County Farmers Union Winter Meeting at Schnipke Inn last Thursday evening hoping, it seemed, to find a few such agricultural producers.

From the rather pointed financial and logistics questions coming from farmers at the end of Mr. Hasson’s presentation, he may have found more than a few.

“I like to be able to have pictures of where it came from, show the chain of custody, and tell the story with the product,” Mr. Hasson said. “Because of the organic farms. You look at organic products that are mass produced, they tell a story with every product.”

“I want farmers that are growing hemp to be able to tell the story of their farm. Their family that’s been farming for all of these years, and making $400 an acre on their crops. Now you have the chance to make multiples of that, depending on where the market goes next year.”

“What I’m doing is putting together a program where I provide the clones. Because I have access to millions and millions and millions of them,” Mr. Hasson continued. “And then, I’m looking for the farmers who already know their land and have worked their land, and are a whole lot better on a tractor than I am, to tend to that farm throughout the year.”

“Then, come middle of September, when it’s time to harvest, you cut it down. You can either dry it yourself, or sell it to me wet, and I’ll give you a minimum amount. There’s a minimum amount I will guarantee on the contract…But, it’s a 50/50 profit share on our wholesale prices on the flower. Right now, wholesale price is about $100 a pound. That’s what I’m getting, best case, right now on the flower that I can sell in the store for $400, I just have to do additional processing. But, at $100 a pound, and you’re getting a pound for every 50 square feet, it’s not too bad per acre. We’re splitting that.”

Mr. Hasson was the second speaker of the evening. The first was John Jacobs, who, along with his son Jim Jacobs, runs a small organic farm, approximately 300 acres, in Henry County, just north of Napoleon. During his presentation, Mr. Jacobs spoke of the importance of connecting personally with the buyers and processors of the crops he and his son grow, echoing Mr. Hasson comment on organic farmers being able to tell their story.

“The trend for many years,” Mr. Jacobs said, “Has been for farms to become more specialized. We’re grain farmers. We’re dairy farmers.”

“We’re not going that route. We’re going more diverse. We’re adding more enterprises…Instead of having the two crops, we’ve got five now with the possibility to grow to seven…It’s not just driving a tractor, and we can’t just take it out of the field and to the elevator. That’s just not going to work. But, the organic thing is wide open.”

“Part of the thing we do with that too, though, is we are very, very customer oriented. We try to make sure the customer is 100% satisfied. Part of that game is storage. Part of it the truck pays into (Mr. Jacobs runs his own trucking operation as well, and often delivers his products directly to his customers). Part of it is just willing to talk to them, and grow what they want to grow. You’ll generally find that they’ll pay you whatever you need to do it.”