In the Hemp Fields with Haygood Farms: An Interview with Co-Founder, Llew Boyd
Jan. 8, 2020
Q1: When and why did you start Haygood Farms?
Haygood Farms was started small and lean in early 2017 in Chattanooga — literally in a garage — by founding leader, Cullom Boyd. At that time, growing industrial hemp was limited to certain farmers under the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Pilot Program, until new legislation was introduced in August 2017, allowing Tennessee farmers a new opportunity to grow industrial hemp. Prior to licensing and registering the farm, Cullom was juggling a family and two full-time jobs. Despite those limitations, Cullom passionately invested his limited time into studying and researching the opportunities that industrial hemp would bring to the community and region.
The Haygood family consists of team members who have led professional careers with an array of expertise and backgrounds in horticulture, biology, pharmaceuticals, public service, sales, marketing and business administration. With the founding team assembled, our passion was instilled under one mission: to grow high-quality industrial hemp while educating consumers and promoting healthier lifestyles by distributing CBD hemp products.
Q2: Tell us about your operation.
When it comes to farming hemp, we have it all under control — as in, we control our own genetics in-house and exclusively use organic farming practices from germination to extraction. Our hemp is grown outdoors on a 160-acre farm in the Sequatchie Valley located just outside of Chattanooga. The ability to manage our genetics internally allows us to facilitate our products from seed to shelf. The way we see it, controlling these important components of our business enables us to operate with the highest level of transparency for our customers and deliver the best products.
We have developed our own genetics from seed since we started farming two years ago, and we own the rights to recreate all of our genetics for cultivation and genetic breeding. Our intellectual properties are selected for resistance to southeast humidity to fit our Tennessee photoperiod (which essentially refers to daylight, or the amount of time our plants will be getting sun). We currently manage our seed breeding and cloning operation in 8,000 square feet of greenhouses in the Sequatchie Valley.
Q3: What exactly does vertically integrated mean in the CBD industry? Why does that matter?
Our motto is dirt to delivery. We strive to embody this with everything we do. We start by cloning everything off our mother plants until maturity. Once mature, we hand harvest, dry, cure, and prepare the raw material for a full spectrum cannabinoid oil extraction with a natural and gentle cryo-ethanol process. Throughout this entire process, we are constantly monitoring our phytocannabinoid levels with accredited and certified third-party testing facilities. Our plants and raw material products are tested for compliance, cannabinoid content and purity so we are sure we are following under the Tennessee Department of Agriculture industrial hemp regulations. Once tested, we formulate and manufacture our own hemp products in a facility in downtown Chattanooga. This process is overseen by partner, Jimmy Schwartz, who has a half-decade of experience in a pharmaceutical compounding lab. After it’s manufactured and bottled, it’s ready for market.
Ultimately, operating in this way allows us to ensure our customers know what they’re getting when they choose Haygood Farms products.
Q4: What kind of products do you offer, where can they be found, and what do your customers typically use them for?
We offer a variety of hemp extract oils and salves, each of which is formulated to help with things like poor sleep, anxiety, pain, etc.
They can, of course, be found on our website (HaygoodFarms.com), but we also offer very affordable wholesale pricing for retailers. We are currently in several stores in Chattanooga, from juice bars and independent grocery stores to clothing boutiques, gyms, spas and salons.
Q5: The CBD space is growing fast — what separates Haygood products from the rest?
Our vision is to provide people, businesses, organizations and communities access to all-natural CBD products that may help alleviate physical pain, depression and anxiety, or promote healthy sleep, just to name a few potential benefits. We do this by holding the highest standards in business practices, agriculture techniques and community involvement. I believe our dirt to delivery mentality holds us to certain practices and standards a lot of CBD companies do not follow.
Q6: In 2018, Haygood was one of roughly 300 licensed hemp growers in Tennessee. By 2019, you were one of more than 3,000 — what are a couple of the biggest trends you’re seeing now?
We grew 100 times more than we did the first year to prepare for the assumed demand, but the flood of new farmers in Tennessee and nationally has affected the market tremendously. Market prices on all forms of raw materials have decreased since we began farming.
The biggest trend that catches us by surprise each year is the smokable hemp market. It’s a niche market that drives revenue for a farmer, but it also presents its own unique challenges. Standards are rising, and as new USDA regulations come out, I believe it will become tougher for farmers to grow product that meets those standards.
Q7: What will 2020 be like in the hemp industry, and what will Haygood’s experience be?
Many farmers had so much trouble getting plants out of the ground in 2019 that I think we may see folks who just say, 'The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze,' and they won’t try to grow again. I believe this will strengthen the market for savvy farmers like ourselves and other bigger farms.
CBG (short for cannabigerol, another cannabinoid in the hemp plant) is going to be the next big thing, and right now, Haygood Farms has two CBG strains that are THC-compliant (meaning they have low enough THC levels to be compliant with regulations). We are currently getting into genetics with our CBG strains, and we plan to sell seeds and plant cuttings to farmers.
Lastly, we are positioning ourselves to offer more pre- and post-harvest solutions for farmers. We’re setting up a hemp drier in our facility, which will enable us to dry, store and even sell product for farmers who don’t have the time, the budget or the facilities they need on the operations side of the business.
To learn more about Haygood Farms and their products, visit HaygoodFarms.com.