Hemp Farming Could Turn Into Economic Boon For Colorado

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A growing farming fad in Colorado is to grow hemp – now that it’s legal, and at least one long-time farming family is hoping to cash in on the crop.

Rock ‘n’ Robin’s in Fort Collins sells products that are made of hemp such as t-shirts, handbags and other products. Farmers are hoping it creates a new industry for Colorado.

CBS4's Lauren DiSpirito talks with farmer Kirk Eppelsheimer about hemp farming (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Lauren DiSpirito talks with farmer Kirk Eppelsheimer about hemp farming (credit: CBS)

Kirk Eppelsheimer grew up around farming, but he never gave the profession much thought until Colorado made history by legalizing hemp production.

“We want to get started now, try to be a leader in this new industry,” Eppelsheimer said.

He plans to be among the first to register to grow hemp in Northern Colorado. He may plant some of that crop on nearly 50 acres of his family’s land.

“I am imagining a field back here of 10-foot tall hemp plants ready to harvest for all their goodies — is really exciting,” Eppelsheimer said.

Proponents see it as a profitable crop — one that is on par with commodities like soybeans and corn. But as a member of the marijuana family, hemp has a bad rap.

“I have no interest in growing drugs,” Eppelsheimer said. “I want to grow fuel and building materials and food and fiber.”

Morris Beagle deals in hemp products such clothing, handbags, shoes, and even shampoo. He sells the items in Colorado, but the hemp used to make them now comes as far away as Europe and Asia.

“You can build houses out of hemp and I think the whole building industry could be a really big thing, not only for Colorado, but for the U.S.,” Beagle said.

Both Beagle and Eppelsheimer think Colorado’s fledgling hemp industry could turn into an economic boon. They hope perceptions change and acceptance grows.

There is a meeting Saturday for people who are interested in growing hemp. It will be held in Boulder at the public library from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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