MJBizMag March 2021 - 42

From the Roots Up
Great Outdoors
W
Growing in the
e've all heard the
idiom, " Failing to plan
is planning to fail. "
But the sentiment is especially
true for the spring outdoor
planting season.
Whether producing industrial
hemp or outdoor-grown
marijuana, growers can take steps
to prepare themselves-and their
operations-for success. These
steps include:
* Proper site selection and soil
sampling.
* Securing contracts with
buyers.
* Selecting genetics and young
plants.
* Protecting crops from pests
and disease.
* Mitigating the effects of
natural disasters.
Agronomists and growers
weighed in on strategies they
use and offered a range of
recommendations for how
outdoor cultivators can improve
their chances of success.
SELECTING A SITE
IS ABOUT MORE
THAN CLIMATE
Choosing where to grow is one of the
most important decisions a cultivator
makes, and the choice should be made
carefully for cost- and labor-intensive
crops such as hemp or marijuana. Each
state has its own rules that growers must
follow for site selection.
The California Environmental Quality
Act (CEQA), for example, requires a
review as well as a disclosure document
that shows the impacts of a development.
The agency then offers the public an
opportunity to weigh in on the project,
according to Natalynne DeLapp, executive
director of the Humboldt County Growers
Alliance in Eureka, California.
But DeLapp said just because a
development might be zoned for
marijuana cultivation doesn't mean that
a community will accept that type of
development.
" If a developer is seeking to purchase
a piece of property, they ought to invest
in doing some sociological research
to determine how accepted (cannabis
cultivation is) going to be, because it
could get very expensive, " she said.
DeLapp said she has witnessed
Wesley Ray grows hemp commercially
in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Megan Baker
developers invest a great deal of time
and money into expensive projects that
went through all the proper zoning,
environmental review and permitting
processes, only to be denied after they
received a " very caustic response " from
the community.
42 Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2021
" They're not denied based on facts
or evidence-they're denied based on
politics and feelings and perception, "
she said. " Even here in Humboldt ... the
epicenter of weed, I still regularly deal
with angry misconceptions of what this
plant is and what's going to happen to
the neighborhood, like whether property
values are going to decrease. "
But with 70% of the counties in the
state not allowing commercial cannabis
grows, the real problem becomes a lack
of access to markets, DeLapp said.
In Oregon, growers must show
that an area can be farmed through
a land-use-compatibility statement,
according to hemp farmer Wesley Ray,
co-founder of Combined Hemp in Bend.
These documents, obtained through the
state's Department of Environmental
Quality, show that a site's plans mesh
with local government master plans and
land-use regulations.
There isn't much anyone can do about
neighbors complaining about the smell
of the crop, other than to give them
ample warning, Ray said.
" I think it's just a neighborly thing
to do to go tell your neighbors what
your plans are, and that it's going to
smell in the summer months, " Ray said.
" Especially talk to the ones that are
downwind from you, because they're the
ones that are going to be smelling it ...
and they're going to complain. "
Proper site selection is also important
for agronomic reasons. According to
Scott Propheter, an agronomist, farmer
By Laura Drotleff
Hemp and marijuana growers provide strategies
for success in producing field-grown cannabis crops

MJBizMag March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag March 2021

MJBizMag March 2021 - 1
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