Hemp: Revitalizing Agriculture with Modern Farmers
At Blue Forest Farms we believe high grade hemp and CBD have the incredible ability to change people’s lives for the better. Sharing these benefits with the world is our driving force. It’s the reason we focus on our genetics program. Our hemp seeds are breed to be the best, containing the high CBD content to be legal, grow hemp plants that produce high yields, and can be turned around to be made into hemp oil, smokable, or whatever else a business owner desires.
This week we spoke to Matthew (Matt) West. Matt is one of our partner farmers who has been a longtime champion of the health benefits of cannabis. Typically farming is an industry that people grow into, through family history and heritage. Matt, with his passion for science and background in medicine is part of this new wave of Modern Farmers. Modern Farmers combine passion and knowledge to do work that is purpose driven and profitable.
Learn about the work that Matt is doing, his infatuation with hemp oil, how he got into the industry and more in the interview below.
“I am and have always been a proud American, I feel no one else can grow or make products like us.”
Medical Professional Enjoys Science of Cannabis Industry
Hi Matt! Thanks for sharing with us today. Can you talk a little about yourself and your work?
I’ve worked in the cardiac side of medicine my entire medical career and currently work as an inpatient Cardiac Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioner. In short, I specialize in heart arrhythmias, pacemakers, and internal defibrillators. I love science, especially Chemistry and Biology. I guess that is what my major passion has been, although until last year, that has been mainly in the human sciences sphere.
The best part about the Cannabis industry is I can utilize my love for science in the human sphere as well as diving into the horticulture sphere. I especially love the extraction process, the chemistry behind it, and how I can utilize my science degree to help benefit all of my clients with superior CBD products. I was a longtime advocate for the utilization of Cannabis for its multitude of medicinal benefits. Thanks to the 2018 farm bill, I was able to start experimenting with Hemp extraction and growing the plant.
How did you get started?
My advocacy for Cannabis has been around since I started in the medical field in 2011. I had always known about the medicinal benefits of Cannabis, but I started hearing about CBD around 2012. I knew it was legal to purchase in the US, but it could not be grown legally. This frustrated me. I am and have always been a proud American, I feel no one else can grow or make products like us. So, why our government would allow a product like CBD to be purchased, but unable to be grown in the US, befuddled me. Then the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill occurred. This was what drove me to invest my time and money into starting Fan Leaf Infusions.
I started out with growing clones and I partnered with a local farmer for biomass to start processing in November of 2019. I then wanted to try my hand at growing from seeds; this is where Blue Forest Farms came in. They not only had superior genetics, they were willing and able to package hemp seeds into smaller quantities to help smaller farmers like myself. I had no need to purchase thousands of seeds because I have never planned on growing that many plants. My grow operation has been an indoor grow since the beginning. I plan to focus mainly on growing indoor this year and will potentially try my hand at outdoor growing this summer.
Growing Hemp Changes Peoples Lives
“Long story short, helping people, especially those close to me, has greatly changed my life for the better.”
Hemp has changed my life in more ways than I can count. The biggest change to my life has not actually occurred to me personally, but to my mother and sister. My mom has been battling Multiple Sclerosis since I was a teenager and she was starting to have a major relapse about the time I extracted and completed my first batch of CBD oil. She started taking the tincture on a Monday night, again taking a dose on Tuesday morning.
After waiting in the ER for 8 hours in a wheelchair to be seen by the neurologist to discuss her symptoms, he recommended an MRI of her brain. On Wednesday morning she underwent the procedure and to our surprise her symptoms had started resolving themselves. Her MRI showed no new lesions or areas of inflammation. She was discharged home with no new medications or recommendations.
Since she has continued to take my CBD oil and has continued to progress and recover amazingly. She is stronger now, her tremors have greatly decreased, and she is sleeping better than she has in years. The only change to her daily routine was taking my CBD oil. My sister has also benefited greatly from reduction in anxiety, sleeping better, and, crazy enough, a reduction in her menopausal symptoms. So, long story short, helping people, especially those close to me, has greatly changed my life for the better.
Superior Genetics Important for Hemp Growers
What made you choose Blue Forest Farms?
I was searching for a reputable company that offered options to buy hemp seeds in smaller quantities. I did not need 1,000 seeds, and several companies I had contacted would not do business with me. I found Blue Forest Farms, I read their entire website and contacted them via email. The response to my message was quick, professional, and very helpful. Ultimately, I felt confident in my purchase, and not to mention, the superior genetics were a huge draw to Blue Forest Farms as well!
What challenges have you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Everyone faces challenges in their lives, sometimes the challenges may seem insurmountable. My biggest challenge that I personally faced was returning to school for my Master’s degree all while raising young children and continuing to work almost full-time. I feel strongly that people who are successful in life and business are of the mindset that any obstacle can be overcome. Hard work will always pay dividends in the long run. In business, my passion for what I do drives me forward and the love of my family is my backbone.
Social Media Will Play a Role in the Growth of Industry
What are your favorite podcasts, books, and apps?
I listen to murder mystery podcasts, Joe Rogan episodes of people I find interesting, and Dave Ramsey podcasts. I just finished listening to a trilogy by Jeff Shaara on World War II; it was excellent. I am currently working my way through a Stephen King trilogy that started with the book Mr. Mercedes; also very fascinating. Apps, I utilize Instagram and Facebook for my business, and some personal scrolling too. I also use Amazon music and Amazon shopping app (probably way too much, but who doesn’t?)
What do you see as the future of the farming/hemp industry?
I see the regulations coming down from the FDA being hurtful to the farmer as they are currently written. My state of Tennessee has opted to continue under the rules of 2019 for the year 2020, and this has eased tensions on farmers throughout the state. However, there is still the question of what the future will hold. I look forward to some regulations for standardization practices. This will allow reputable companies to continue to flourish and bad actors to be phased out.
Advice for Newbies: Research Before Getting Started
If you were to give any piece of advice to someone looking to grow hemp, what would you say?
Research, talk to anyone you know that is currently in the hemp space, and reach out through email to companies for assistance/guidance. Information is power, the more you have at your disposal, the more prepared you will be to overcome obstacles. I researched for probably 100 hours before I started my venture, I also discussed for hours with people whom I knew that grew last season, and I partnered with farmers that had successful crops last season. The insight gained from discussing with the experienced farmers was invaluable. Also, start your business for the right reasons, and do not start if you are thinking you will get rich quick.