Coming Together

Over six months of hard work came together in just one week! Between April 20th and 24th, The XY Hemp Corporation received it’s industrial hemp license from Health Canada, signed a production agreement with Farmer Direct Co-op and purchased Finola seeds.

Licensing industrial hemp farming is done by the Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada. The Industrial Hemp Regulations are an annex to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Producers, distributors, and processors must apply to Health Canada to secure a license to work with hemp. The XY Hemp Corporation submitted the application on January 28th. This application includes a detailed map of our location, consent for criminal records check for the directors of the corporation, signed consent of our landlords at Breadroot Farms, and our chosen seed variety. Our license to produce, distribute, export and store hemp arrived on Monday, April 20th, 2015!

The arrival of our license allowed us to move forward with a production contract to secure a buyer for our harvest at the end of the season. We reviewed five contracts from different buyers before deciding to accept one with Farmer Direct Co-op. We are so grateful for the many offers we received to buy our seeds. Growing organic hemp has so many benefits, in this case it provided us with a much higher price for our final product than conventional and the product was in demand from many seed buyers.

During this process we received excellent service from Clarence at Manitoba Harvest. He was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The North American Hemp and Grain Co. also provided helpful information on seed suppliers. Although we did no pursue a production agreement with Hemp Oil Canada, we were able to purchase our Finola seeds from them and are happy to get to work with them on this venture.

We chose to sign a production contract with Farmer Direct Co-op (FDC) for several reasons. Our farming partners, Al and Hélène of Breadroot Farms, are members of this small organic co-operative. FDC is 100% farmer owned, 100% organic, and 100% fairDeal. The fairDeal certification means that farmers receive premium prices for fairDeal organic products and ensures farm workers receive living wages and safe working conditions. Certified organic supports sustainable agriculture by promoting soil fertility, healthy food, and healthy people. We are very happy to be supporting this small co-operative with such strong corporate social responsibility commitments.

Once our production contract was accepted by FDC on Thursday, April 23rd, we could proceed with the purchase and pick up of Finola seeds. This was done on Friday, April 24th, which means everything is in order for seeding in late May.

The weather is warming up in Saskatchewan, and the adorable cows at Breadroot farms are starting to calve. As of yesterday, April 28th, there were three new calves out in the pasture. During our visit from May 24th to 30th, C will be operating machinery with Al, tilling and seeding our crop, while I plant gardens with Hélène and visit with the cattle. We also plan to drive up to see our hemp-farming mentor, Larry Marshall, to tour his much larger organic operations.

After so many phone calls, e-mails, applications and contracts over many months, things are falling into place. We are very excited to be moving into a more tangible phase of our business, and to see our efforts truly grow. The summer will be similarly uncertain, as we put our faith into the climate in Eastern Central Saskatchewan. With the help of the team we have built around us, I truly believe that everything will come together.

-K

 

 

Land Access for The XY Hemp Corporation

March 25, 2015 The XY Hemp Corporation completes a significant step in our business plan: signing the crop share agreement with Breadroot Farms.

The crop share agreement is a hybrid between a traditional crop share contract and a production agreement. This flexibility has allowed us to craft a truly unique partnership with our organic producers, Hélène Tremblay-Boyko and Al Boyko. We are growing 60 acres of hemp this summer and sharing input costs and profits from the sale. This structure allows The XY Hemp Corporation to share risk, costs and access mentorship from experienced organic producers.

As young professionals, C and I have limited experience with agriculture. An 8-month co-op term at the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture exposed me to different land access arrangements for young farmers. These alternative models of land access include incubator farms, land linking, co-operative farming and farmland trusts. Breadroot farms is actively searching for young agrarians to take over sustainable operations on their farm through land linking initiatives such as FARMLink. Al and Hélène have also set aside land for a farmland trust called Farmland Legacies. Our joint venture is a blend of land linking and co-operative farming.

Star Spangled (Future) Hemp Field on Breadroot Farms, SK
Star Spangled (Future) Hemp Field on Breadroot Farms, SK

In exchange for a land rental fee, a 30% share of seed sales and reimbursement for machinery operations, Breadroot Farms is providing The XY Hemp Corporation with 60 acres of pristine organic land and the mentorship of organic farmers with over 20 years of experience growing field crops in Saskatchewan. The location is perfect for hemp seed sales: close to the Manitoba border where the majority of hemp processing occurs.

Al and Hélène have grown a wide variety of field crops, but have never grown hemp. C and I were able to apply for a license to grow industrial hemp from Health Canada with permission from Breadroot farms. This application has been received and processed and we anticipate our license to be issued at the end of April, 2015. We have also accessed the support of Larry Marshall, an experience organic hemp farmer in Northern Saskatchewan. With these three incredible resources, C and I will learn so much about farming this summer.

The crop share agreement is the first contract on a series that sets our dreams into motion. Our next major milestone will be a production contract with a seed buyer. The XY Hemp Corporation and Breadroot Farms are currently reviewing several contracts and are very excited to move forward together!

-K

P.S. My pitch video is still up for votes online, please watch and give it a little “heart”

Organic Farming in 2015

I am beyond excited to be organic farming this coming summer. Although I have been interested in growing hemp for over 2 years now, last fall my dream began to transform into reality. When my business partner and I began to look for a suitable piece of land to grow a pilot hemp crop,  we were open to conventional farming, but were fortunate enough to find organic farming partners.

Our longterm goal is to build a fully integrated processing facility, using waste hemp fibres to create new products, but I recognize that we have a lot to learn before we get to that stage. This goal does motivate us to look for the most sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. With no farming experience, we were looking for mentors in conventional or organic farming to lease land and machinery to grow a pilot crop and we did not expect to find organic land easily. I found an online land linking service provided by the Government of Canada, the Agriculture Management Institute, and the Government of Ontario called FARMLink. This website is a meeting point for new farmers, established farmers and farmland owners. After building a profile describing the land in which we were looking for (50+ acres in Alberta or Saskatchewan) and ourselves (new young farmers with no experience looking for mentorship to grow industrial hemp) we were contacted within days by established farmers near Canora Saskatchewan.

The match could not have been better! Hélène and Al own a large organic farm in eastern Saskatchewan, close the the Manitoba boarder, called Breadroot Farms. The Government of Manitoba has been extremely supportive of the industrial hemp market since legalization in Canada in 1998. This support has enabled the development of a hemp food processing industry lead by Manitoba Harvest and Hemp Oil Canada. Although Al and Hélène have never grown hemp before, they have over 20 years of experience in organic farming and are excited mentors for young farmers of the future. Consider contacting them if you are looking to settle on pristine organic land and continue a tradition of sustainable farming in Saskatchewan.

The opportunity to grow our pilot crop on organic land using traditional organic practices is a dream come true. From the very start, our company will embody our beliefs about building a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. We can all influence this future through the products we buy, how we choose to earn a living, how we vote and our conversations. Through mentorship, collaboration and innovation our dream of growing hemp begins this summer.