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buying hemp seeds to grow

(Feminized Cherry Wine seeds popped on 12/26. This is day 4.5 already showing a 95% germination rate.)


Mike LeagoFollow

Founder of International Hemp Exchange – Chief Operating Officer of High Grade Hemp Seed – 1st Licensed Hemp Broker USA

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The Farm Bill passed! Hemp is Legal! Farmers want to get hemp seeds planted in 2019! So now what.

Where do we buy seeds? How much do they cost? How many do we plant per acre? Can we get samples before we buy?

These questions are rolling in to International Hemp Exchange and HGH Seed every minute (or so it seems) since the farm bill passed. Farmers across the country are making it clear that they are ready to get involved in the massive hemp industry that is going to unfold over coming decades.

Most new farmers don’t know where to start when it comes to purchasing viable hemp seeds.

Since we have been around the block when it comes to hemp genetics (seeds, clones, seedlings, tissue culture), I wanted to shed some light on what we have learned over the last couple years buying and selling clones and seeds.

Hopefully you can learn from some of our mistakes and jump into the “accelerated” genetics course instead of falling into any of these pitfalls on your own. I’ll be telling a few stories over coming months of seed deals gone… sideways. There are some interesting ones in there from 2018.

Don’t let your story be the lesson of 2019.

1. Buy FEMINIZED Seed. Trust us. This is the best move as a farmer looking to grow hemp for CBD production. The value of CBD-rich hemp biomass is such that it doesn’t make money to try and save money with “traditional” (non-feminized) CBD hemp seed. After more than 5 or 10 acres, it becomes a true challenge to cull any males from your field and produce a true feminized crop. Plus, the money you spend on labor to try and remove the males is going to offset a great deal of the cost difference.

Feminized seeds should produce almost entirely female plants- we shoot for 99.9%+. That means you’re only culling a few males per acre. Look for germination rates over 90% from good breeders. Our tests come in at 95% plus! It’s not hard to do some germination tests with a local university and solid seed producers shouldn’t be afraid to make this happen if they haven’t already.

(Feminized Cherry Wine seeds popped on 12/26. This is day 4.5 already showing a 95% germination rate.)

2. Work with an ESTABLISHED seed provider. This is not the time to trust the many carpetbaggers that are jumping into the seed game. There are going to be a ton of them. Find a reputable company with a track record of successful deals and happy farmers.

I got a call last week from a licensed marijuana farmer in Colorado looking for “any genetics that could be used for breeding” so they could charge $0.60/seed for something that will be a total wildcard and totally unstable. This is going to be more common than anyone wants to admit.

Don’t get stuck working with one of these so-called “breeders” and risking your hard earned money (and huge upside potential) to an opportunist looking for an easy mark.

There are reputable companies in addition to ours that have really great quality seed for sale. Now is the time to put your deposits in for 2019 before the reputable seed sells out (and yes, it will sell out this year). The IMITATORS will be out in full force. If you see someone other than the original breeder selling certain strains- don’t risk it. Go straight to the source. Pricing will be almost identical and you can rest assured that you made the right decision with your investment.

3. Find seed genetics with PROVEN track records. Strains, Cultivars, Varietals, Genetics… Whatever you choose to call them. Some of us like to experiment with genetics more than others. Now is the time to make sure you are going to have a successful 2019 while the CBD market remains strong and demand keeps up with (or outpaces) demand. Make sure you work with a company that can show you compliant results, preferably from farmers all over the country.

We would recommend planting at least 80% of your acreage with genetics that can show a solid track record. Experiment with newer or personal genetics with the other 20% of your land. This leads us into our next point, which is.

4. Diversify your investment by planting a variety of proven genetics. This is especially true for first year farms that are dialing in their operation. This way, you hedge your bets on the wide variety of factors that could influence how one genetic might perform compared to another based on the unique variables that every farm operation brings to the table. Additionally, there are genetic offerings that can mature in staggered intervals to help assist in harvest efforts.

Bringing down your entire crop at the same time can be a lot of work! Having a handful of solid genetics helps to ensure a successful harvest and market opportunity for new farmers (and returning hemp farmers too!).

5. Look for Certifications and Approvals from Department(s) of Agriculture. See if these genetics have proven acceptance in other states already. It’s a good sign if companies can show that have complied with multiple states Department of Agriculture

6. Ask for references. How many happy farmers are you able to talk to? Are previous buyers reordering? That’s a great sign if farmers are happy and reordering from the same company.

7. Don’t settle for Knock-Off’s or Imitators! When you look at established strains like Cherry Wine, there are a ton of sellers claiming to be producing and marketing this same strain, but the truth is most of these companies are imitators putting out similar, but absolutely inferior genetics from different parent stock. There is no need to if you plan ahead and reserve your seed ahead of planting season.

8. Make sure this seed was produced with INTENTION. You might think you just misread that, but I’m serious. Only work with reputable breeders that are set out to better the industry and genetic landscape, rather than those set out to sell whatever seed they can get their hands on.

There is a ton of seed currently on the market and more to come that was produced accidentally in the field this summer by who knows what type of pollen. Don’t walk… RUN AWAY from any deal where you think this could possibly be the case.

9. Ask for paperwork. Seed sellers should be able to provide documentation showing that they are a legal producer and seller of seed genetics within the market(s) they are working in. Get any of the approvals from various states Departments of Agricultures. Certificates of Analysis (COA’s) from biomass that has been grown in the past. Photos of final product and what fields have looked like. Any SOP’s that might come with purchase of the seed (most sellers will only give this out after purchase if they are willing to at all).

10. Expect to face minimum order quantities and reproduction constraints. This might not be true for smaller or unestablished genetics (for good reason!), but the established players in hemp genetics have worked long and hard to get here and invested countless hours and dollars to get to this point. They are not interested or willing to give this away for nothing.

You’re probably not going to get any samples. You’re probably not going to get to buy 100 and see if you want to come back, even if it’s for a million more. You’re not going to get permission to use these in your breeding program or get mother stock to clone from. Sorry to burst your bubble if that’s what you were hoping to hear. But you will get to buy quality genetics that should get you a 50x-500x ROI if you know how to farm and market this product.

People in the cannabis community realize that plant stock can be cloned and reproduced and many are in the game of acquiring other genetics, re-naming them, and calling them their own. Established providers are going to have reasonable but significant minimum order sizes 5-30k MOQ (min order qty) and will likely force buyers to sign non-reproduction agreements, stating that the buyer cannot reproduce or re-market these seeds or their viable offspring for any reason. This is not uncommon in traditional agriculture. Besides, most reputable breeders understand that these genetics are not going to produce identical or stable seeds.

11. Work with Good People. Life’s too short to pad the pockets of assholes. The hemp and cannabis industry as a whole have a ton of great people in it. But there is also a growing population of bad apples as well, and often they’re the loudest ones and/or overly-marketed. Good people and good companies come with good reputations- look for this. If you ever get the impression that you might be working with less-than-reputable individuals, or potentially might be at the end of a long chain of brokers, get out of there and come talk to us.

Working directly with the producers and their sales channels will give you the best chance of success.

If someone tells you they have brand name product at a discounted price- beware. What’s that old saying? “If it seems too good to be true…”

12. Know your own limits. We’re happy to sell you the seeds to grow as many acres as you can, but we also like to work with partners that take a realistic approach to farming a new crop in an emerging industry. This is going to be different than other commercial crops you have grown and will have unique constraints and bottlenecks that aren’t extremely common with other crops. Talk to experts, know the bottlenecks, and make sure you’re operating in a scope and manner that is sustainable for all involved.

Land isn’t the challenging part of this equation. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you should grow it. We field a lot of inquiries of folks bragging about how many acres of traditional crops they have grown and wanting to switch to hemp. Take it easy and get involved at a reasonable level. I believe that more than half of the acreage that was registered for growing in 2018 never made it to harvest. Don’t be one of those statistics. You can get started in hemp and do very well without trying to take on more than you can work with.

Make sure you have the infrastructure, equipment, money, and manpower required to pull off your first hemp harvest and have an idea of what you’re going to do with it at the end of the season. A wet and moldy pile of biomass is not going to be appealing to processors or buyers in any categories. Maybe you can collaborate with neighboring hemp farmers to build or utilize existing equipment and infrastructure to support local hemp acreage.

13. Do Your Research and Place Your Orders! It’s time to start forming these relationships and putting down your deposits to secure seed for 2019. Make whatever moves necessary to figure this our during Q1 of 2019. That is plenty of time to get all the pieces in play and make sure you will have seed for springtime. Don’t be afraid to wait when working with reputable companies that have trusted production capacity. Do worry when a seller can’t tell you what their production schedule looks like or wants to take all your money up front without a contract.

That’s it for now! More to come. Stay Tuned.

*Let me know what I missed. I will do my best to update this post as valuable insight is brought up. There will also be more of these ‘articles’ coming in the near future. Now is the time to figure out your plan for 2019 hemp! International Hemp Exchange and HGH Seed are here to help.

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Mike Leago

Founder of International Hemp Exchange – Chief Operating Officer of High Grade Hemp Seed – 1st Licensed Hemp Broker USA

First of many hemp articles to come from International Hemp Exchange. This one deals with the nuances of buying hemp seed for first time hemp farmers (and returning farmers!). Hoping to educate so that others can avoid some of the pitfalls that so many of us faced as we got involved with breeding, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and the 999 other things that come up on a daily basis. No matter what part of the supply chain you’re involved with, it all comes down to working with the proper seeds. This article outlines many of the reasons why International Hemp Exchange only works with HGH Seed for CBD genetics. Reach out direct for more information. #hemp #CBD #seeds

Listen, there are so many to choose from and it’s difficult to know which ones to buy. Navigating through the minefield of different hemp-derived products can be annoyingly tedious and time-consuming.

Where can you buy industrial hemp seeds for growing?

Answer Wiki

My man, you can practically buy industrial hemp from your weird neighbour or your grandma right now.

Listen, there are so many to choose from and it’s difficult to know which ones to buy. Navigating through the minefield of different hemp-derived products can be annoyingly tedious and time-consuming.

To make it easier for you, this is generally where a lot of people I know purchase theirs:

They stock a huge amount of both feminized and unfeminized seeds for a fairly inexpensive price.

If you want to contact them directly then give them a call using t.