Rona Lindsey is hoping to help local hemp farmers save money by processing the crop here instead of sending it to the west side of the state.
Lindsey said this is her second year growing hemp in Union County. She recently applied for a conditional use permit to use a processing machine on her property. Hemp produces CBD oil, among other products.
“Right now, I have to send (the hemp) to Eugene,” she said, noting the processors there take 50 to 60 percent of the revenue from the top.
By processing the plants herself, Lindsey — and other farmers in the region who wish to use the machinery — will be saving money.
“We could be fair to the farmers,” she said.
Lindsey explained the process of producing CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is similar to getting mint oil. There is 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in the oil her farm produces so there’s no adverse effects to using it.
During the planting and harvest season, Lindsey said she employees 12 people at $15 per hour. The process for harvesting the crop is meticulous, with the employees having to hand strip the fiber from the stem of the plant. The hemp fiber is then used to make oil, clothing, food and other products.
The machinery will cost between $500,000 to $1 million, she said. There will also be EOU graduates who specialize in horticulture hired to be able to process the plant.
See complete story in Friday's Observer