Harvest underway for hemp farm

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 2:17 PM CDT
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STARK COUNTY, N.D. (KFYR) - The harvest season is well underway in North Dakota. While wheat, sunflowers and corn are all cut by combines, one family farm picks their product by hand.

Looks can be deceiving at Badlands Hemp, east of Dickinson. While the branches and leaves might look like a marijuana plant to you, it’s actually hemp and is ready to be harvested. “You go out there and the field smells phenomenal, and the plants are gorgeous and they start changing colors,” said Cathy Weber co-owner of Badlands Hemp.

The driving force behind this year’s hemp harvest is trying to beat the frost. This one-acre field is being picked by the Weber family before freezing temperatures kill the plants.

“Harvesting is intense. It is just like camping so we go out there and we cut all the plants down with chainsaws,” said Shane Weber co-owner of Badlands Hemp.

Big equipment doesn’t make the cut when it comes to harvesting. Everything from the planting, to harvesting, to processing is done by hand. “Handwork that is exactly what it is. It’s hard work but we really enjoy it. The kids get involved, the grandparents get involved. Really it is a family ordeal,” said Shane.

After the plant is cut, it is brought to the barn where it is hung from the ceiling creating a forest of hemp. The hemp trees are left to dry for five to seven days before the plant processing begins. “It is probably the most work, but it is the most rewarding,” said Cathy.

The last two years the farm has harvested about 1,200 plants for oil.

In a later story, we will show you how the plant is processed and how the products arrive at stores here in Bismarck.