Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kentucky Hemp Project Recap & Wrap-up

When I last posted seven months ago, I honestly thought I would be providing regular updates on the progress of my industrial hemp project here in Kentucky. That did not happen, obviously, and I attribute it to three basic factors:
1) My efforts in the project have been far more extensive — and exhausting — than I ever imagined, leaving me little time or energy for reporting.
2) The progressive decline in my enthusiasm for growing and processing industrial hemp — resulting primarily from ridiculous regulations and restrictions, poor program design, and abject lack of industrial opportunity going forward — kept me in an uninspired frame of mind for reporting.
3) The ease and expediency of posting superficial updates to Facebook — versus the energy and effort required for posting in detail to this "old school" blog — gave me a path of least resistance for postponing (and ultimately neglecting) to update here.
The season is now over and I still have little energy or enthusiasm for reporting. The words of Tennyson in Ulysses — so famously quoted by Robert Falcon Scott after his failure in Antarctica — continue to reverberate in my head: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."



In the briefest possible terms: Several different varieties of industrial hemp were planted, both grain and fiber varieties. Most failed entirely due to weed pressure and lack of crop protection products. Some grew fairly well and were even harvested, but remain sitting in the field due to a lack of market for downstream processing and manufacturing. Even if you grow industrial hemp, there's nothing to do with it... at least not yet. I do not see that changing in the near future, or for many years to come.



Bottom line, I have lost interest in industrial hemp and will not be sticking around for a third season. Two years of involvement without appreciable results or opportunity are the limit for me. That said, this chapter of my exploration has not been a total loss. I've learned a lot, gotten myself in better physical shape than I've been for a while, and experienced another different lifestyle. Morning and evening walks have been spectacular, and Happy has thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and sensory cornucopia of being a farm dog.



By far the biggest -- and most surprising -- learning for me has been just how much I've enjoyed living in a place for a while. For over ten years I have lived a truly nomadic life, living out of a container as small as a duffel bag and no bigger than a compact camper trailer. The comforts of a reclining chair, a full-feature kitchen and even a full-size shower have had an effect on me. I'm not clear what all that implies for my future, but I'm going to think about it in earnest for a while.

One thing is for sure: I don't belong in Kentucky. So, I'm in the process of packing up my gear, getting my road rig ready and planning a migration back to the Pacific Northwest. I have no plans beyond that... Stay tuned!

1 comment:

janet said...

Can't wait to see where you land next.