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Garrett County's Agricultural Future

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

Haeli and Darryl Glotfelty

Haeli and Darryl share the success of their premiere hemp harvest.

As I stood in the middle of a field of majestic, waving, hemp plants ready for harvest, I thought to myself, "This is the future of agriculture." A young farmer, Darryl Glotfelty, had invited me to a harvest day along with his family and friends, equally enthused about this newly legalized crop. His soon-to-be wife, Haeli, compliments this new agricultural business in Garrett County with her background in health. The pair plan to leave their jobs in the Washington, D.C. area to devote skills and knowledge from their respective backgrounds to a crop they feel could revolutionize their 100-year-old family farm. Garrett County’s climate proved hemp-friendly, producing a robust crop exceeding everyone's expectations. Each plant draped in heavy blooms will be processed for CBD oil and fibers that can be used for a multitude of commercial products. Everyone working with the plants donned surgical gloves to keep their hands clean while working with the oil-laden crop. The team of volunteers cut the greenery averaging about 4 feet tall and weighing between 10 and 13 pounds – each one tagged and weighed before moving them to the barn to separate the blooms from the stalks. The blooms can fetch a greater price than cash crops like soybean and corn, plus, the entire plant is usable, making it a zero-waste harvest. Once cut, the plants release a pleasant fragrance of pine and citrus. Everyone clipping and stacking stems from stalks were purposeful and upbeat which could be attributed to the aromatic environment. Many people think of Garrett County as a place for agriculture yet we aren't known for a notable export crop. I'm hopeful that Darryl and Haeli, and other progressive local farmers can transform and revive the local farm traditions that have declined over the years for a new generation itching to work the land and enjoy a demand for what they grow. Hemp is not new but revived. It was mandated that landowners in early America with five acres or more dedicate one fifth of their land to hemp that was used to make sailcloth and rope.

Over time, the re-emergence of hemp could replace synthetic textiles and petroleum-made plastics with eco-friendly biodegradable products – a growing consumer desire. The oils can be used to treat a multitude of health problems from pain relief to anxiety, depression, acne, and heart disease. This has been a 10-year dream of Darryl’s but growing hemp is just the beginning. He plans to expand to include local processing and distribution, product development, and education for future hemp farmers. With support from state and local leadership and the community as a whole, he and other farmers can realize what I felt standing in that field of strange new plants. A future.

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