Farming for us is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. We must give back to the earth by whatever means possible to maintain its health. The relationship we have with the soil is indeed a two way street that needs constant nurturing. Proper soil maintenance not only keeps the dirt supplied with the proper nutrients and minerals, it also benefits the land in countless ways, including helping slow down erosion, providing wildlife with better habitat, and mitigating overall waste in the farming process.
Full Circle Farming
For those reasons, we practice what is known as full circle farming. After we harvest our hemp, we plow any remaining stalks and plant matter that we won’t use or don’t need for the extraction (of CBD oil) process, back into our fields. As we wrote in a previous blog, if you look at the anatomy of a hemp plant, you’ll see that each component, from the roots to the leaves, is very important and useful for both people and the land. The latter receives important nutrients and minerals that allows future plant life to thrive.
Full circle farming means using each component of the hemp plant, from the roots to the leaves, and ensuring a fertile seed bed for future plants.
Do you remember way back in grade school when your history teacher taught you about the inception of peanuts in the South? A talented botanist at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, by the name of George Washington Carver, recognized two very important factors regarding the planting of the peanut. First, the peanut would become an important cash crop as demand was on the rise. Second, and perhaps most importantly for farmers, peanuts served as what we call a rotation crop.
Back at that time, cotton was the main commodity coming out of the South. The loamy soil and sustainable climate of the southern states provided the perfect place to grow cotton. Except with the perennial planting of cotton, farmers began to notice a couple of things that allowed the peanut to rise to prominence. For reasons unknown at that time, fields were yielding smaller and smaller outputs each year. That’s because cotton depletes the soil of those aforementioned minerals and nutrients that plants require to establish a solid root system. Second, the peanut plant was not an attractant, as was cotton, for an invasive and destructive little insect called the boll weevil.
Full circle farming has been a prominent practice since cotton was the South's top commodity.
So, what is a soil amendment? A soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its physical properties, such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration, and structure. The goal is to provide a better environment for the roots of future plants. In the case of our hemp fields, by adding organic plant matter back into the soil, we are then able to provide a better environment for the roots and therefore the overall plant health of future crops.
By turning unused hemp plants back into the soil, we are also able to mitigate waste. We are not only reusing what we’ve grown, this process also allows us to farm without the use of harmful chemicals. We are also able to save a bundle by not having to purchase extra fertilizer from the local Co-Op!
This one is very near and dear to my heart. I like to hunt and fish. But I love the outdoors for the animals that God has put on this green earth.
Fort Farms is home to a bounty of wildlife that lives here year-round. As we mentioned, we don’t use any harmful insecticides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals, which in turn allows us to manage the wildlife and native plant life that inhabits the borders of our hemp fields. From ducks, dove, and other migratory birds to those animals that live here all year like deer and turkey, hardly a day goes by that we don’t get to enjoy watching them on the property.
The farmland is also thriving with an excellent insect ecosystem favorable for butterfly and bee activity, both of which play an important role in increasing biodiversity. As well as pollination.
Full circle farming is just one of the beautiful things about growing hemp and producing full-spectrum CBD that makes this whole process so beautiful. We are devoted to using an agricultural system here on the farm that is ecologically sensible and sustainable. Whoever said, “the thing about land is that they’re not making anymore” was absolutely right. That’s why we care so much about environment and especially the one where we work and live.