The move for organic certification distinguishes Haygood Farms’ commitment to organic farming practices and quality products in the rapidly growing hemp industry.
Haygood Farms, a hemp farm in Sequatchie Valley, Tenn., achieved United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification on its farm and hemp crops in February. Certified through Oregon Tilth, Haygood’s hemp crops are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides, use only certified organic compounds for fertilization, on certified organic soil, and never use genetically modified (GMOs) seeds or plant stock.
“It’s been our goal since we started Haygood to do things right,” says Cullom Boyd, co-founder of Haygood. “That translates to creating a product that doesn’t use harmful chemicals or pesticides in the growing process and has minimal impact on our environment. It really distinguishes us in an industry that is rapidly transforming.”
Founders Boyd and Jimmy Schwartz have been committed to organic farming practices since the company’s inception, using products for fertilization and pest management certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), an organization that determines which inputs are allowed for use in organic production.
“Conventional agriculture practices, including the use of synthetic fertilizers, can create excessive nitrogen in farm runoff that has potential to impact the water around us,” Boyd says. “We started farming knowing we were going to use organic practices because it leads to the best hemp product just like with tomatoes and any organic produce you can tell the difference in the taste and quality of the product.”
Boyd says the organic cannabis, grown without using synthetic fertilizers, has a stronger terpene profile than conventional, or non-organic, cannabis. Terpenes are the compounds that give a cannabis strain its distinct flavor, smell, taste and contribute to the beneficial effects of the CBD.
For Haygood, the organic certification is only one piece of their greater commitment to providing excellent products with minimal environmental impact. The farm and its founders constantly seek more sustainable farming practices, including reducing the amount of plastic in outdoor beds and reusing plant containers sourced from a local landscaping business.
“Organic certification doesn’t necessarily align with sustainable practice,” Boyd says. “We’re trying to achieve both at Haygood with organic and sustainable farming practices. We are constantly working to lessen our impact on the environment and use of valuable resources.”
Haygood Farms is currently undergoing organic certification for their bottling and storage facilities, a process they anticipate completing by mid-2020 that will enable their CBD product line to carry the USDA organic label.