Meet Brian Furnish
The last three years have been an exciting time for Brian Furnish, Director of Farming & Global Production at Ananda Hemp. Following the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp has become the new sustainable cash crop. While certain government agencies debate how to classify the product, industrial hemp continues to thrive. Hemp remains legal due to the prior wording of the 2014 Farm Bill and the subsequent Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Three years later, where does this leave the average farmer?
The Need for Agricultural Literacy
Agricultural literacy is at an all-time low in this country. The average American is at least three generations removed from farm-based agricultural work. Brian Furnish hand-picks each farmer that grows product for Ananda Hemp. While Ananda Hemp is working from a variety of locations, their Kentucky production is incredibly important.
“No contract farmers are used in production,” Furnish states. Brian Furnish’s commitment to local families farming flies in the face of modern agricultural procedure. While the family farm gives way to corporate concerns, Furnish uses Ananda Hemp as a means to buck modern sensibilities.
Growing up as an 8th generation farmer, Furnish strives to use hemp as a means of keeping future generations on the farm. “This is about having the opportunity to return hemp to Kentucky,” said Furnish. When tobacco subsidies ran out at the Federal level and demand dropped, Kentucky’s agricultural economy took a hit. While farming groups have considered everything from chickpeas to soybeans as viable replacements, nothing quite equals the historic pull of tobacco. Well, nothing but industrial hemp.
Furnish as Farming Pioneer
Furnish is part of an emerging trend among farmers. The cash crops of yesteryear have been eliminated due to social and economic changes. While most of the older generation can retire, we have several American farmers staring down another 20-50 years of potential work in their futures. Past generations would call it quits and move off the farm to suburban/urban living. Due to a mixture of pride and personal history, a new breed of farmers are choosing out-of-the-box alternatives rather than quitting the land.
For many of its participants, hemp farming is a paradigm shift. Production schedules change, social attitudes become piqued and the greater world wants to learn more about your crop. Farming hemp also allows agricultural workers to stay closer to family traditions. While the modern farmer tends to look into agricultural entertainment by letting city folk pick through their crops, hemp has a certain respect to its cultivation.
The surge of interest in industrial hemp farming isn’t unprecedented. When a previously underestimated crop suddenly becomes open for production, there is a novelty towards the item. Look at the rise of Kale during the early 10s. The product went from being used at Pizza Huts to cover the stainless steel on their salad bars to being the new superfood. Who benefitted? Farmers in South Carolina looking for a new crop after the fall of Tobacco.
What makes a modern hemp farmer?
The modern hemp farm is indicative of agricultural innovation. Gone are the days of the horse and plow. Family farms are now working as part of bigger networks sharing a common agricultural goal. The next super crop is not going to succeed if there’s not enough product for international demand. Dozens of former tobacco farmers exist in Kentucky to fulfill that need. Brian Furnish is here to make sure that shared Ananda dream comes to fruition.
The future of Hemp Farming
The Internet allows the work of Ananda Hemp to stretch far beyond what was imagined. As Brian Furnish and the farms under his control keep producing raw industrial hemp, they keep an eye on the future. Legality issues in America and around the world are changing for the better. But, after decades of Prohibition, more has to be done than just straight sales. Hemp is a product that requires education.
Many will emerge with the interest to make a quick dollar off hemp farming. However, that may not be sustainable. Brian Furnish understands what it takes to be successful at cultivating prime sources of hemp. Time, experience and heart will see the hemp revolution succeed.