Welcoming In a New Year

Columns - From the Editor

January 14, 2022

Happy new year! After the past few years we’ve had, I think it’s safe to say we’re all ready for a fresh start.

In some ways, recent years have often felt like trying to get ahead on a treadmill–taking all the necessary steps only to end up in the same place, if not further behind. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the hemp industry (which gained full legalization just one year before the pandemic hit), it can be difficult to see progress.

In the hemp industry, we know many cultivators are working hard to grow quality product, just as innovators are working to create new cannabinoid-based medicines, new markets and infrastructures, and advocates are working to change laws in favor of the industry.

Yet, laws in some states, and even some nationally, are still restrictive, and supply chain bottlenecks and oversupply issues remain. Participants across the industry continue to deal with challenges that have existed since the U.S. first legalized hemp.

But a new year always presents a chance to look toward a more hopeful future–and we have much to be optimistic about heading into 2022. After all, we know how this plant can have a tremendously positive impact on people and the planet.

We’re starting off the year with a story about the promise of hemp and how seeing its medical benefits firsthand inspired one family to begin growing it. When the siblings running Iverson Family Farms saw their father struggling after his terminal cancer diagnosis, they wanted to try anything to improve his last days, and they turned to CBD. They described its effects as immediate, even “magic.”

Now, hemp makes up a significant portion of this 72-year-old family farm’s operations with not only cultivation, but also processing and retail divisions as the siblings work to share some of that CBD magic with others. For the Iversons, hemp presents an abundance of opportunity to diversify their business as well, beyond just growing a new crop.

“[Diversification is] moving out into manufacturing, doing more vertical integration. I think that’s the diversification angle that the next generation is going benefit from that will help make the farm more stable going forward,” says Ken Iverson, who runs the business along with his siblings. (See the cover story.)

It’s a story about new beginnings, building relationships, cultivating success, and sharing hope. And I think those are values we can all carry into this new year to make it great, no matter what’s happening in the world around us.

Theresa Bennett tbennett@gie.net