Hemp Depot is the brainchild of Andy Rodosevich and Luke Pickering. The two began working in Colorado’s legal medical cannabis sector nearly a decade ago and have been breaking new ground ever since.
Several years back they sensed a shift in the legal cannabis market and began to focus their efforts on the production of pharmaceutical grade CBD hemp oil, hemp seeds, hemp clones and hemp flower.
Hemp Depot began with 120 acres of land in eastern Colorado, and was started from scratch.
“There was no power, water or even a survey on the property,” says Andy, “so we had to bring everything in.”
Their hemp farm was built from the ground-up and is based on traditional agricultural methods: using the water-efficient drip irrigation, organic compost and tractors you’d find at any progressive farming operation.
The big difference, of course, is the hemp itself. Otto II was used for the majority of their 2016 production. The strain was created by Ben Holmes, a pioneering plant geneticist who established the first registered label in the U.S. for the production of medical grade cannabis seeds. The combination of Holmes’ genetics and the Hemp Depot’s production techniques has led to the mass production of Otto II, a top-quality industrial hemp plant that has some of the highest levels of cannabidiol (CBD) available.
Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant, and a “cousin” to marijuana. As per the legal requirements for hemp CBD compared to marijuana, the CBD produced from Otto II plants contains only trace amounts of THC (under 0.3%), the intoxicating chemical compound that many associate with marijuana.
A hemp plant with high amounts of CBD not only makes economic sense, but also contributes to crop sustainability. “Higher ratios of CBD mean you can process a lot less material for the same amount of yield,” says Holmes, “which helps efficiency.”
Compared to more traditional crops, hemp farming has its advantages.
“Hemp is naturally pest resistant and fungus resistant, which makes it easy to grow without pesticides,” says Luke. “The biggest challenge is the weather; you can’t control the weather.”
Weather was responsible for one of the company’s early setbacks, when a summer storm destroyed their major greenhouse and all of the plants in it.
“But we quickly regrouped, built another greenhouse and put 6,600 plants in the field,” notes Andy. “During that same summer we built a 4,000 square-foot, below-ground greenhouse dedicated to seed and genetics – as well as an 10,080 square-foot steel building that would provide us a drying facility for all of our product at the end of the year.”
The result was the company harvesting around 10,000 pounds of CBD-rich industrial hemp in 2016. For 2017 Hemp Depot is expected to plant 25,000 plants, with an anticipated harvest of close to 50,000 pounds. “We currently have the room to multiply that volume five-fold,” says Andy, “and we hope to be at full capacity by the end of 2018.”
The company has also branched out and in late 2016 launched three consumer product lines for their industrial hemp. It’s also putting efforts into a new seed, Otto HD, that’s expected to improve on the CBD ratios and production of Otto II.
“These are very exciting times for hemp production,” says Rodosevich. “Consumers are catching on to the potential of CBD while researchers continue to explore its potential health benefits. Hemp Depot is prepared to lead the way for our industry as we create, develop and produce newer and more productive CBD-yielding industrial hemp.”
For more information go to https://hempdepotco.com