West Bend


Hemp Returns to Humanity: Building Soil Health and Farmer Revenue With Industrial Cannabis

Doug Fine - Hemp Bound
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Workshop Level: Intermediate
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Workshop Description

Because industrial hemp provides both soil remediation qualities and a $300/acre profit (to Canadian farmers today), this year's legalization of the plant will be a key part of the strategy for successful family farming in the 21st Century. Small farmers are looking for a way to keep working the land, and to return to the land: we're down to one percent of Americans working in agriculture. Hemp, as it did in the 19th Century when America was the world leader, is one important crop to help us get back to the land. One Kentucky utility, Patriot Bioenergy, is already planning to plant hemp to remediate marginal soil, put farmers back to work, and provide locally derived energy that frees America from fossil fuels. In this entertaining slide show and presentation that follows two years researching the hemp industry from Manitoba to Belgium, Hawaii to China, bestselling author and investigative journalist Doug Fine explains how American farmers can implement a hemp-based strategy that will result in both soil health and profits, while providing a local energy source.

Strategy is important with hemp: hemp is a rotational bridge crop, so its planting must be timed correctly. Furthermore, to maximize profits, hemp must be harvested correctly to protect both fiber and seed integrity if high end uses (and thus profits) are desired for food, textile and industrial applications (energy is the easy part: that's the cellulose in the stalk). The good news is that places like Canada and China have been doing parts of this important puzzle for decades, and the U.S. stands poised to regain the mantle of this billion-dollar crop whose market is growing 20 percent annually. This event pieces together all the parts of the strategy necessary to bring about a profitable 21st century agricultural revolution.

Speaker Bio

Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and solar-powered goat herder. He has reported from five continents for the Washington Post, Wired, Salon, The New York Times, Outside, and National Public Radio. His work from Burma was read into the Congressional Record (by none other than pro-hemp Senator Mitch McConnell), and he won more than a dozen Alaskan press club awards for his radio reporting from the Last Frontier. Fine is the author of three previous books: Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living, and Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man. A website of his print work, radio work, and short films is at Follow him on Twitter @organiccowboy and check out his website of books, dispatches, short films and live event schedule at

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