16 Nov SoCal Hemp Completes 2020 Commercial Harvest of Mojave Desert Grown Industrial Hemp
SoCal Hemp JV LLC (“SoCal Hemp”), a joint venture of Cadiz Inc. and Glass House Group to farm, harvest, process and market sustainable hemp and hemp-derived products, announced the completion of its first commercial harvest of industrial hemp at the Cadiz Ranch in California’s Mojave Desert. The successful crop, planted on 240 acres in Spring 2020, produced more than 300,000 pounds of dried hemp biomass and hemp flower suitable for a variety of hemp and hemp-derived products. The harvested product is being transported to processors and assessed for product development, including hemp-derived cannabidiol (“CBD”) and other cannabinoid products.
SoCal Hemp’s 2020 crop included 8 different varietals structured for CBD products sought by consumers for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain-receptive properties. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that is low in THC, but with beneficial cannabinoids including CBD. SoCal Hemp conducted regular testing throughout the growing process and the entire crop successfully harvested below the 0.3% THC federal limit and with strong CBD and other cannabinoid assessments.
“Despite hundreds of years of use and our ancestors’ well documented trust in the hemp plant’s properties, hemp was pushed to the background of agricultural products resulting in a dearth of information about its benefits as a commodity and also as a farmed crop capable of giving back to the planet,” said Graham Farrar, SoCal Hemp CEO and President of Glass House Group. “We are proud of our commitment to reintroduce hemp to America through a sustainable crop that will support products that serve the ailments of society in a natural way.”
A key focus of SoCal Hemp is to grow a sustainable crop perfected in the Mojave Desert sun. No pesticides were used during the growing process and organic material was applied for fertilization to augment the soils. Hemp is a lower water using crop due to its adaptability and its coordination with soils. Applying drip irrigation, the crop required less than 2.5 acre-feet of water per acre, far less than other desert grown crops. Desert weather conditions proved advantageous in keeping humidity low, allowing for a faster drying process and no loss of crop to mold or pests. SoCal Hemp has a Memorandum of Understanding with Victor Valley College to ensure the factors influencing growing hemp in the desert are documented and available to educate agricultural students and practitioners in California and across the country.
“We are thankful for our community of partners who are instrumental in our effort to deploy the best practices for sustainably farming and producing hemp,” said Scott Slater, CEO of Cadiz Inc. and principal at SoCal Hemp. “Hemp is proving to be exactly what we thought it could be – the perfect crop in this desert environment – and the cornerstone of a vertically integrated operation.”
The SoCal Hemp harvest carried out over several weeks included a combination of hand cutting and machine harvesting operations. The highest quality flower was hand cut and dried with the intention of ultimate use in a smokable hemp-derived CBD product. Most of the crop was machine harvested then chopped and bailed. The harvest team readied hundreds of bales that are being transported to processing partners in Southern California and Oregon.
Delivering on our mission of offering a full seed-to-sale hemp solution, SoCal Hemp is planning to market and sell completed products including cannabinoid (CBD and CBG) extracts for use in smokable flower, cosmetics and health products. We are also evaluating partners for the remaining stem and stalk which can be used for additional products including feed and soil enhancement material.
The market for hemp-derived products remains robust and has continued to grow despite economic weakness during the COVID-19 pandemic and regulatory uncertainty for CBD. U.S. retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products are expected to total $4.7 billion in 2020, up from $4.1 billion in 2019, and forecast to reach $12.4 billion by 2023.