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Farmers and companies in Montana are looking to hemp as agriculture evolves



Bozeman, Montana – If you’ve driven to the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, you could have saw or even smelled something interesting. A hemp farm is there. And it’s a component of Montana’s expanding and altering agricultural landscape.

“My family’s big crop has always been the hay crop,” says Gallatin County farmer Dale Flikkema.

For thirty years, Flikkema has been a farmer in the Gallatin Valley.

“Just traditional crops here in the valley, you know, wheat, barley, alfalfa, hay,” says Flikkema.

Dale started cultivating hemp two years ago after deciding to venture outside of his comfort zone, making him the first hemp grower in the Gallatin Valley.

He collaborated with IND Hemp, a Montana-based organization that supports farmers’ modernization.

“We contract with farmers to grow hemp for us. We then bring that into our facilities at Fort Benton and process it, and then we sell our products all over the country,” says IND Hemp Chief Strategy Officer Trey Riddle.

Farmers like Dale receive training from IND Hemp on how to grow hemp.

“We have a full-time agronomist that helps them plan their crops and we also provide the seed for them to plant and of course the contract to buy the commodity,” says Riddle.

After being harvested, the hemp is transported to Fort Benton, where it is processed into a number of various items used in agriculture or even clothing.

“We provide very high-performing bedding for animals, dressings for feed full of omega three six and nines, and almost a perfect protein for animals,” says Riddle.

Dale is happier with the plant that grew up to 12 feet this summer after a difficult start the previous time.

“We made several mistakes, maybe right up off the front. The crop was, I want to say, was a little bit on the disappointing side. Of course, I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to do anything once you got to do it two or three times. So another reason why I grew it this summer,” says Flikkema.

Riddle asserts that hemp aids the evolution of Montana farmers.

“Another opportunity to change up the rotation and diversity in their fields is really important for the health of their soils. Also, we can get out of the commodity price fluctuations,” says Riddle.

“To be in AG, you better be adjustable and flexible and do different things and you’ve got to be able to change on the moment,” says Flikkema.


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