New local tour gives crash course in hemp WKRN Story

With the growth of hemp production in Tennessee comes budding interest and now there’s a new tour to learn all about the industry.

From the ins to the outs, to what it’s really like to grow hemp, Rabbit Circle Farm Tours is now hopping onto Middle Tennessee’s newest cash crop.

Sixth-generation farmer Jennifer Davis runs the tours.

“I’ve been doing the farm tours here for about a year and in the last three or four months especially I’ve had a lot of folks start asking questions about hemp,” said Davis. 

That’s when Rabbit Circle’s Hemp Tours was born.

Davis combined her extensive background in agriculture with her connections to area hemp farmers.

“It’s more to not necessarily be an educator but the facilitator,” said Davis. “What are those opportunities for farmers? I think there’s maybe a little misconception that you’ll be able to come out here and play at a cannabis plant and suddenly you’ll be a millionaire.”

The tours start in Nashville where Davis drives to at least three Middle Tennessee Hemp Farms. 

“We go through a regular till application, the no-till application, and then a strip field,” said Davis. 

Next comes history.

“Up until for sure the early 1950s, it was a viable economic crop,” she said.

Then the business side.

“This was what was in this field last year, this is the potential for what might be in this field next year,” said Davis.

Finally, the reality for farmers.

Jerry Jones is a 7th generation tobacco farmer making the switch to grow hemp.

“You have to learn a lot learn on the fly,” said Jones. “Tobacco has been the mainstay for Robertson County for 100 years I guess but it’s kind of passing. You don’t make as much per acre anymore and it’s just harder to get by on it.”

“I would like this to be an intermediary for people to be educated and entertained at the same time,” said Davis.

The tour costs $75 per person — $5 will be donated to the Tennessee Growers Coalition and $5 will be donated to the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association.

Link to Original Content- https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/new-tour-gives-crash-course-in-hemp/

100 Years- What’s Changed

Newspaper clipping 1930

I found this newspaper clipping while going through my Granny Head’s scrapbook. It dates from about 1930. Pictured is my Great Grandfather Raymond Head and his 4 children.

The caption under the first photos reads: ” A recently-bought flock of Montana ewes on the farm of Raymond Head, near Springfield, is inspected by county Agent Harmon Jones and Mr Heads son Robert. The sheep are expected to play a big part in making up the loss caused by dealing dark fired tobacco market;”

2019 is the first year that there will be an industrial hemp crop in Tennessee. A recent article in the Tennessean reads ” Faced with the decreasing profitability of tobacco and an expanding market of hemp products, some of Tennessee’s longtime tobacco farmers are abandoning the state’s traditional cash crop and embracing a lucrative but largely uncharted hemp industry.”

Another story from Forbes online reads. “How Hemp Is Giving Renewed Life To America’s Tobacco Farmers”

It seems as though there is an ongoing conversation with Black Patch tobacco farmers that’s lasted for well over 100 years. What will be the next big crop that replaces the income from tobacco?

Robertson County has a long proud history

Tiny Seeds of Hope

In mid March,  tobacco farmers around middle Tennessee start their crops in large floating greenhouse gardens. Tobacco seeds are tiny. They are about the size of a sesame seed.   They have been the main cash crop around here for generations

Matt Start Tobacco Green House

My Granddaddy always said that tobacco was a 13 month a year crop. The plants spend 7 weeks in the green house, 90-120 days in the field, 6 weeks drying in the barn and another 3-4 months of stripping.  Almost as soon as a farmer finishes one crop, they start gathering supplies and preparing for the next season. There isn’t much down on a farm. Every step counts.

Book a local farm tour.

We will show you around and introduce you to the local farmers and their traditions.

Mechanical Tobacco Seeder – Starks Brothers Farms
Steve Stark