Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kentucky Anniversary

Today marks the anniversary of my arrival in Kentucky, and almost a year since my last post. I've been busy, but not with Macgellan kinds of stuff. I've generally enjoyed my time here, despite being somewhat of an alien. Let's face it, I don't share the predominant Kentucky politics, religion or love of basketball. Nevertheless, I've made a few friends, had some good experiences and learned a lot.

I'm not at liberty to say much about the project I did here last year. In brief, I was engaged to move here and participate in Kentucky's nascent industrial hemp program, to grow some hemp and prepare it for processing. Easier said than done.

Because industrial hemp has been foolishly outlawed in the US for almost a century, I quickly found that nobody knows much -- and I knew nothing -- about how to grow it. Starting from scratch, I recruited farmers, sourced seeds, managed agronomy, designed specialty harvesting equipment and facilitated harvest and handling. I can't say the project was entirely successful, but for a first-time effort it was rewarding to get any crops at all. Farming is harder than it looks.

If you'd like to get a look-and-feel for the project, you can watch the video on my client's website. As you do, keep in mind that when the farmers say they've learned everything they know about growing hemp from the company, they're talking about me. I never pretended to know anything about growing industrial hemp -- and my farmers could see that right away -- but I have a pretty good record for learning things quickly and teaching it on the fly!

That project wrapped up in October, but I decided to hang around for a while. Why am I still here in the dead of winter? Well, partly because I have some ideas that I think might be fun to pursue involving industrial hemp, and partly because I honestly don't have anything else on my to-do list right now. It's actually been fun to be in one place for a while, not occupied with exploration and giving myself a chance to really catch up with myself. I'll let you know what comes of it!