Doug Fine

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Author, Journalist, Adventurer, Goat-Herder
Updated: 1 day 54 min ago

The Bear Attack That Made Me A Hemp Farmer

Tue, 2020/01/28 - 10:15am
The Bear Attack That Made Me A Hemp Farmer:

AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

Order AMERICAN HEMP FARMER

 

A short excerpt from AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, and thoughts on the five-year journey to this follow-up to HEMP BOUND

By Doug Fine

@organiccowboy

 

Six years ago, a bear fleeing a wildfire in our New Mexico backyard killed nearly all of my family’s goats in front of our eyes. It wasn’t the bear’s fault: he was a climate refugee. It was June of 2013, and drought had weakened the ponderosa pines and Douglas fir surrounding our remote Funky Butte Ranch. Beetles took advantage, and all of southern New Mexico was a tinderbox. Ho hum, just another climate event that until recently would have been called a “millennial” fire.

 

That’s the paramount reason I’m an overworked employee of the hemp plant: The people I care about most are one blaze away from joining the world’s 20 million climate refugees. At least I get the pleasure of putting “goat sitter” under occupation on my tax form.

 

The conflagration convinced me that I had to do something, personally, to work on this climate change problem. After some research about carbon sequestration through soil building, it became clear that planting as much hemp as possible was the best way to actively mitigate climate change and help restore normal rainfall cycles to our ecosystem.

 

At least the fire’s timing was good. Hemp was de facto legalized for “research purposes” in 2014, two months before the publication of my earlier book of my about hemp, HEMP BOUND. I’ve spent the five ensuing years not just covering the new industry but joining it: developing genetics in Oregon and a farm-to-table product in Vermont; consulting, filming, and speaking all over the world; working on university research in Hawaii; and teaching a college course near the Canadian border in Vermont. Most of all I met, farmed and processed with dozens of fellow hemp farmers, all over the world. We all consider ourselves part of a functioning regenerative industry niche, with a mission statement best described as “This Time the Farmers Are In Charge.”

                                                                    *     *     *     *     *

That’s from the introduction to  AMERICAN HEMP FARMER. I wrote it in large part because, as anyone who has leapt in can attest, planting hemp and making a living at it can be two different endeavors. AMERICAN HEMP FARMER endeavors to blueprint possibilities for independent farmers like myself who’d like to do both, particularly on their own land. If a lot of things go right, an independent farmer (or a farmer cooperative) can make a viable living on a small number of acres. That ain’t exactly the way agriculture has been going for the past century. Just how many acres depends most of all on the part or parts of the cannabis plant you are cultivating (seed, flower, fiber, root). Another variable is whether you’re planning to create a value-added product. A third is if you’re going at it alone or in partnership with others. Regardless, the good news is being in a hemp field is the most fun you can have outside the bedroom.

 

If you’re like me, you learn to relish every moment on the farm, because often at this early phase we have to shape regulatory policy, which means spending time off the farm. In fact, as any hemp permit holder in any state can tell you, we’re in a bit of a code red situation at this moment – right as AMERICAN HEMP FARMER comes out, those of us who want to see the regenerative hemp industry thrive are rallying to immediately raise the federal THC definition of hemp to 1 percent.

 

There are a lot of reasons for this, but the immediate catalyst is that the USDA interim final hemp regulations that came out in December criminalize THC above .5 percent. That, of course, is insane. Plus, far too many farmers are testing “hot” over micro-amounts of THC under today’s antiquated .3 percent definition of hemp. The last folks who should be burdened about THC are farmers. The war on cannabis is over. Cannabis won.

 

Still, sometimes I think we’re wise to give thanks for bad bureaucratic decisions: everyone’s justifiably fired up, and we’re going to win this one, just like we’re going to win all battles that need to be fought to support the regenerative hemp farmers who are sequestering carbon while re-building rural communities. So we gotta tweak federal law again. No biggie. Please join us. Call your congressperson and senators today on this. Let’s get this one done this year so we can really build our genetics with confidence. Regenerative farmers are going to save humanity.

 

There’s much more policy to discuss (and it’s in the book), but the field is where the endorphins flow. It’s a sunny day here in the Land of Enchantment, so I’m heading out to lay some goat poop-laden organic alfalfa on my future 2020 field. Yikes, less than four months until planting. And I’ve got a dang book tour, which I’d love you to check out. More dates being added all the time here.

 

In closing, it’s so appropriate that  AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is celebrating its release at the seventh NoCo Hemp Expo (NoCo7). For one thing it’s the biggest and best hemp event in the world — a must-attend immersion if you’re considering leaping in to hemp, a plant that has launched the biggest economic development since Silicon Valley. Also, at NoCo1 in 2014, which had 19,500 fewer attendees than NoCo7 will, I performed my first live event following the publication of HEMP BOUND. Morris, Lizzy, Lori and the whole NoCo family have been supporting my work (and regenerative hemp) nonstop ever since. My NoCo7 keynote and book signing times will be announced soon. To stay in the loop for the latest, you can join my Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch mailing list.

 

Oh, and if you do make your pre-order via the link in this dispatch, you’re supporting independent bookstores – in this case Denver’s magnificent Tattered Cover. Use code EXPO is you want to pick up your signed copy at the NoCo Expo, and of course otherwise they’ll ship anywhere. As well, when the book hits general release on April 8, you’ll be able to get it at bookstores everywhere.

 

I don’t think I will ever stop sending truly profound thanks to everyone who reads AMERICAN HEMP FARMERand HEMP BOUND. I couldn’t do what I do without you.

 

–DJF, Funky Butte Ranch, January 20, 2020

 

Order Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

Reviews of AMERICAN HEMP FARMER

American Hemp Farmer would have been in George Washington’s library. President Washington grew hemp and was a passionate, regenerative agriculturist. Washington sought advice from those that practiced their trade. Doug Fine‘s American Hemp Farmer is a scholarly, practical and impeccably enjoyable work and a must-read for those who cultivate hemp or are interested in leaping in.”  –J. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

 

“As a hempcrete homeowner, American Hemp Farmer is the must-read book on hemp I’m proud to keep on my shelf. Someday we may even see NBA arenas built from hemp. But for now Doug should be prepared to lose more money at the poker table that sits on the hemp floor of my hemp paneled card room.” –Two Time NBA Hall of Fame Inductee Don Nelson.

 

“In his latest, Author Doug Fine details the beneficial and no longer forbidden relationship between cannabis and humanity and how together there is a path to rejuvenate the entire planet. As a state hemp program administrator, I hope every hemp farmer and policymaker reads this book carefully. It details a roadmap for success, for farmers and the planet. And that’s probably because Doug doesn’t just write about hemp, he lives it.” —Cary Giguere, State Hemp Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

 

  Further Praise for Doug’s Work

“Fine is a writer in he mold of Douglas Adams.” —Washington Post

“Fine is Bryson funny.” —Santa Cruz Sentinel

Doug has written the best book of the year and a blueprint for the future of America.”                      –Willie Nelson

About Doug Fine

Doug Fine is a solar-powered goat herder, comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and pioneer voice in regenerative farming, including cannabis/hemp. He has cultivated hemp for food and seed-building in four US states and teaches a Sterling College hemp class in Vermont. In addition, he is an award-winning culture and climate correspondent from five continents (for NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others). His books include American Hemp Farmer, Hemp Bound, Too High to Fail, Farewell, My Subaru (a Boston Globe Bestseller), Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man, and First Legal Harvest, a monograph that was printed on hemp paper. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.” A website of Doug’s print and radio work, United Nations testimony and TED Talk is at dougfine.com and his social media handle is @organiccowboy.

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