Kyle Colpack & Nicola DeGradi of Black Tie CBD
Tell me a little bit about your first year growing hemp: year, location, acres, processes, etc. Had you worked with cannabis or as a farmer prior?
We began as organic cannabis farmers, so making the transition to hemp was not totally foreign. That being said, the first year growing hemp on a commercial scale was difficult. It was all trial and error. We had two farms that were a combined 7 acres. The environment in Southern Oregon is very different than that of Northern California. The rain is somewhat predictable there. Not so much in Southern Oregon. Six weeks of rain to finish the season taught us some hard-learned lessons.
How many acres do you oversee now? How much has Black Tie grown since the beginning?
We have grown quite a bit over the years. We currently operate nearly 200 acres. Eighty acres are Certified Organic.
What are some of your favorite technological advancements in farming you’ve seen since you first started in the industry? Have you guys development any processes you consider pioneering and don’t mind sharing?
Machines definitely make life easier.
What areas do you see where there is still room for technological improvement?
The machines could definitely be better.
Fighting nature, fixing tractors, or finding staff: Do you struggle more with environmental, mechanical, or personnel related issues at your farms? Has cross pollination been an issue?
We have struggled with all of the above, but finding dedicated personnel is by far the toughest hurdle. We have become accustomed to the environment, and machines break from time to time, but finding hard-working, passionate personnel is difficult. Cross pollination is our specialty. We have managed to produce some really nice strains from cross-pollinating our genetics.
Any good stories of struggles you’ve overcome in your years in the industry?
We'll spare the details, but we have learned some valuable lessons. You learn who your real friends are when you're stuck out in the rain with no umbrella.
What are your favorite strains to grow? Do you have a part in the process after the flower leaves the farm? Does your extraction process favor any strains?
We have a variety of genetics and we enjoy growing all of them. We like to grow Oregon CBD genetics too. Our favorite is the Special Sauce. When the flower leaves the farm, we package and sell it online via BlackTieCBD.net. We do a variety of concentrates via several different methods.
Any Black Tie products you think really stand out?
The Afghani Hash is one of our newest innovations. This product has been wildly popular with our customers since introduced.
Are there any cannabinoids you are excited to work with in the future?
On the regulation side, do you see the greatest threats coming from the Feds or the states themselves? Any particular threats you see on the horizon?
We think the largest threat to the industry is over-regulation at the state level. Each state setting its own threshold for legality could hinder interstate commerce.
Do you have any advice for anyone entering the industry? What direction would you steer aspiring farmers? Where do you think the industry is headed?
We suggest newcomers seek advice from a consultant. Aspiring farmers should try to find new ways to use the whole plant. The industry is going to boom when hemp is efficiently converted into utility. USA go Green!
And finally, if there are any people that you’d like to recognize from Black Tie or the industry in general that have helped get the company to where it is now.
We would like to thank the entire Black Tie family and our many friends who have helped us along the way. Farming is difficult. It takes a team.
Kyle Colpack & Nicola DeGradi