Steadfast Hemp Farm and Auction in Muhlenberg County is run by two veterans. They are trying to help struggling farmers by having hemp auctions, giving farmers a place to sell hemp for the first time in more than 70 years.
“Small farmers are generally the ones who get the short end of the stick,” says Keith BeLiles, Steadfast Hemp Farm co-owner. “They usually go out of business because they don’t have enough crop to stay in business.”
Nathan Tucker and Keith BeLiles say growing hemp is more stable than growing soybeans and corn, especially with their automated system in their greenhouse and their pesticide-free approach. They actually use ladybugs and praying mantises instead of chemicals.
“They go through and eat all of the bad bugs,” says Nathan Tucker, Steadfast Hemp Farm co-owner.
Tucker says growing hemp is extremely labor-intensive, but the need for CBD oil is prevalent. This is something he has seen first hand.
“My mother passed away in November and CBD oil was one of the only things that alleviated her pain,” says Tucker.
Hemp Business Journal predicts the hemp industry will reach nearly two billion dollars by 2022 as CBD products grow in popularity for health and wellness.
“Everything I’ve heard about the potential is pretty phenomenal,” says Muhlenberg County Judge-Executive Curtis McGehee.
Some Muhlenberg County officials say this is giving them hope for their economy.
“When Nathan and Keith came to me about their plans it was exciting to me as a Judge Executive because we’ve had some pretty hard roads in Muhlenberg County over the past years,” says McGehee. “We’ve lost some businesses and some industry.”
The potential for economic growth is especially enticing for Muhlenberg County after finding out 130 people may be laid off since Tennessee Valley Authority decided to close its remaining coal-burning unit back in February.