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Colorado Hemp Connection


Boulder, Colorado – This year has been a big year for hemp so far. In my own hemp adventure we worked with two seperate land owners to get two cultivation sites off the ground. One of our goals in helping to ensure the success of each site was to find the best genetics.

We looked at different cultivars from breeders across the US, and in the end decided to source our genetics based on how well they grew in our region as opposed to how well they grew in other climates like Oregon or Kentucky. For our sites in northern New Mexico which sit between 5000ft-6000ft elevation, we decided to source our genetics from Colorado.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana and hemp in 2014, so the Colorado hemp scene is pretty well established. We began to source genetics for the 2019 season in late 2018 and weighed the options of growing seeds or clones from several companies across Colorado. Ultimately we knew we wanted to plant the T1 and Wife varieties and clones seemed like the best way to get the first year going. As we narrowed our search, it was the T1 and Wife varieties that lead us to find Victoria and Cameron at The Colorado Hemp Connection, a Boulder based business specializing in high CBD clone and mother stock. We picked up some teen aged plants in early April to see how they would acclimate and grow in Northern NM. The teens we got did great in the cooler temps on our site, so we ended up purchasing another 1000 clones to plant in May.

On the two different trips to pick up plants from their facilities, I was really impressed by their kindness, professionalism and willingness to help us get our crop off to a good start. Not to mention the impressive scale of their operation. At one point, they mentioned a 60k clone order, which caught my attention since it was 60x the size of my order. I asked if we could sit down and learn a bit more about what it’s like to run their operation and what they have planned for the future.

Interview with Victoria and Cameron Wylde, Owners of the Colorado Hemp Connection

Colorado Hemp Connection Mountains

A view from the fields of Colorado Hemp Connection | Photo by @cohempconnection

Tell us about Colorado Hemp Connection and what you guys do.

Victoria: First and foremost, we work to set farmers up for success by supplying them with the highest quality clones that are fantastic genetics for CBD content. We are also working with farmers and other people in the industry to connect with one another. Whether it’s processors or dryers or end product users. But pretty much focused on creating really high quality, high CBD clones.

Cameron: I think something that we really pride ourselves on is just being easy to work with, and being very customer focused. Because in the hemp industry, and really any industry, there’s a lot of difficult people that you might have to work with. We try and be a place that customers can come to and know they’re going to get a high quality product, they know that they’re not going to get jerked around, they know that there’s going to be a simple straightforward process. 

What is your operations main line of business right now and what are your plans for the future?

Cameron: So right now, we’re definitely focused on clone sales, the bulk of our business has been getting people super high quality clones. In the future, we’re looking at being more of a mother supplier, we’re also looking at developing other programs as well. There will be a lot of r&d over the offseason. 

How large is your site?

Victoria: Right now, the facility that we operate out of is 12 acres total, this year. We’re taking care of anywhere between 500 to 1000 moms. There’s a mentality of a certain way to keep mother stock. But we’re always playing with different ways (to keep stock). And it’s all about maximizing the square footage or cutting per square foot. And so we’ve played with different pot sizes, different pruning techniques. We’re trying to make our footprint as efficient as possible.

That’s a lot of moms, how many people does it take to run your operation?

Cameron: So really, our most labor intensive time is during the cutting season when we’re making clones, taking cuts. Every day taking thousands to 10s of thousands of cuts. So at that point, we have anywhere from 5 to 10 employees working with us. In the offseason, we kind of dial things back a little bit. Really the only thing that has to happen every single day is watering. And we have a team of one or two people, they water in the morning, afternoon. And then either us or whoever else is out there will spot water throughout the day too. 

Colorado Hemp Connection Victoria

Victoria Wylde | Photo by @cohempconnection

How many total clones did you sell this year?

Victoria: We sold close to 400,000 clones. 

Wow, that’s crazy. How many years have you guys been doing this and how did you get into it?

Victoria: This Believe it or not, was our first year. We moved out to Colorado about two years ago to learn the industry. The reason we got into this was because I was in charge of sourcing genetics for another company. I had a really hard time finding good people to work with when finding great hemp genetics. Getting into this, I was like, this should not be this hard. I’m easy to work with. Why can’t I find other people that are easy to work with? That’s pretty much what kind of gave us the idea of Colorado Hemp Connection. And then as things got immensely busier, Cameron stepped back from his engineering job to run the company full time with me.

Let’s talk about genetics for a minute. Where regionally did you guys source your genetics and what is your favorite strain?

Victoria: We started with genetics from the western slope (T1, Wife, ACDC and Boax). And also, we’ve kind of accumulated other streams that you’ve probably seen from other growers on the Front Range. In terms of like the future we’re hoping right now we’re trialing 10 plus different strains in our greenhouse for the following season for next year for 2020. I have to say from a propagation perspective, it (my favorite) would be Boax because it’s one of the easiest strains to propagate. And the vigor of the plant to me absolutely amazes me as it grows. It’s just an incredibly fast, vigorous grower and it’s great for a bunch of different climates. For end product use, I would probably say The Wife, just because it’s really a terpene rich strain that just produces beautiful buds. Especially if you want to go to like a hand trimmed end product or even like a full spectrum oil. It’s just a really fragrant and beautiful strain that we enjoy growing.

Cameron: Yeah, I would agree with that, Boax been an awesome plant just to grow. But yeah, I don’t think you can beat that terpy profile of The Wife. It’s pretty awesome.

What does the next two years look like for your operation?

Victoria: Our vision is to continue to grow the clone operation and to make strategic partnerships with people across the country. It took some states a little while to catch up with the 2018 Farm Bill so they just kind of missed out on 2019 season. I think we’ll see 2020 is going to be a huge year for hemp across the country. So our main mission for next year is to get as many of our clones into the hands of farmers from the west coast to the east coast. And also to help educate people about this plant. We work with a lot of first time farmers and for us, we love that we look at hemp as being sort of a wonderful, profitable crop for family farms. We really want to help people bring small farmers back to the forefront of the industry.

Cameron: Agreed, the goal really is to expand beyond Colorado. And, recognizing the Colorado is very much a hub for hemp at the moment, we want to take that wave that Colorado has been riding and help spread it across the country to other farmers that are looking to get into things.

Colorado Hemp Connection Cameron

Cameron Wylde | Photo by @cohempconnection

What is the largest order for clones that you filled this year?

Victoria: 100k clones.

That is a big order. What do the logistics of an order that large look like? How do you transport that many clones?

Cameron: Yeah, it’s pretty fascinating. Really, I mean, it’s a 26 foot box trucks or full on semis. And then on top of that, you can’t just put them on the floor. They’re on multi layer racks. So the clones go in three to four layer racks that are on wheels and are loaded into the truck at our facility, and then they get wheeled down at the destination. 

Victoria: For that particular order, it was two semis. But it’s really tricky. When you’re going across the state lines, it can be a long trip. You have to chill everything down in a refrigerated truck so the photo period doesn’t get messed up. You don’t want a bunch of flowering plants on your hands, 18 hours later when they arrive at their destination.

What does a day in your operation look like?

Victoria: It is super nuts, exhausting, but also incredibly fun too. We start cutting in early in the morning with our team and manage our employees to get everybody going on a good flow, Getting the maximum cuts per hour is what definitely keep our efficiency high. And while we’re doing that, I’m usually fielding sales calls and talking to growers or other farmers we’ve sold to. Cameron is on the logistics side, helping get orders out, helping organize the orders get the orders out. Now at this point in the season it’s a little calmer. Things have slowed down, thankfully, because it was pretty much like a marathon.

Colorado Hemp Connection Clone Roots

Clone Roots | Photo by @cohempconnection

What is one thing about your business that most people would be surprised to hear?

Cameron: This surprised me, but coming from personal experiences, I was surprised how much of a hands on operation this has to be every single day. Especially with propagation, it’s a finicky process. Conditions have to be just right to propagate. In regards to mother stock, you constantly have to have eyes on your plants They have to be watered properly, they have to be fed properly, you’re making sure you don’t have any sort of disease outbreaks. I mean, it’s really insane what goes into production.

How do you feel about the influx of new hemp businesses, including hemp clone operations, how do you think it will affect you next season?

Victoria: So we think about this a lot. I think it’s easy to get intimidated. But we always have to come back to the idea that the only competition that we really have is ourselves and being better than we were yesterday or last week. I feel that competition is good, I think that it makes the market more competitive and makes the businesses that are providing the goods and services more competitive and providing a higher quality product. Although it is a little intimidating, we have been through this already. And we’ve learned a lot. We did some great things, he also made some mistakes. In the end competition for the future is only going to make us better and help us provide better products and services to our customers. As well as hold the other businesses that are selling clones to a higher standard.

Any concerns or worries in regards to the FDA or USDA interfering with the progression of the hemp industry?

Cameron: It’s certainly hard to predict regulation and understand how that will affect business. But it does seem like the ball is already rolling and it has so much momentum. There’s so much public support and economic benefits, I don’t really see any extremely tight regulations coming down. If anything, we might see somewhat tighter quality control standards, which could potentially be a good thing. There’s currently no great way for consumers to really know what they’re getting when they go to the grocery store, and they pick up a bottle of CBD oil. So I think there’s actually room for beneficial regulation. But this doesn’t seem to be an industry that any governments do looking to shut down? 

Victoria: I would agree with that, There’s a lot of talk out there about the FDA coming down, and that being funded by Big Pharma. But I don’t really see that happening. And maybe that’s just because I’m an eternal optimist, but I really think that the ball is already rolling with this, and there’s no going back. So I see it’s just moving forward from here on out.

What is the most important piece of infrastructure you can’t live without or should be thought through really well before you set it up?

Cameron: A good irrigation system. For either a greenhouse or on a farm. Because really, that’s, that’s the backbone of your plants success, making sure they can get water sufficiently. Not only for water, but for nutrients too. A lot of people forget the part where their plants need food, they need to eat. And so it’s really important to make sure that plants are on the right regimen, depending on their stage of growth, and they’re getting enough of everything (nutrients and water) that they need to receive peak output.

Colorado Hemp Connection Clone

Clone | Photo by @cohempconnection

What’s the hardest thing that you guys have had to overcome to achieve the results that you have this past season?

Cameron: We got off to a little bit of a rocky start. We had kind of a sticky business partnership that we had to work through, and ultimately terminated. Which turned out to be a great decision on every front. It’s given us a lot of freedom to go in the direction that we want to go and build the company to what it is today. That’s the hardest part of any industry, aligning yourself with the right people and working with people that you can trust.

Victoria: That was the hardest thing to overcome. When we finally left that partnership, we didn’t really realize how much mental energy we were putting into that, so relieving ourselves of that burden, opened new doors for us, and just really allowed us to focus on the business side of things versus a personal relationship with the business partner that didn’t work out.

What is the best piece of advice you can offer new farmers thinking of getting into the cannabis industry?

Victoria: I have two pieces of advice. We’ve seen a lot of farmers make the same mistakes, we have made these mistakes as well. Like we talked about before, definitely work with people that you trust. And then make sure whoever you’re going to work with you have agreements and paper. We’ve seen a lot of people, come together and pull resources to get a hemp farm up and off the ground. And sometimes things just don’t work out. And it can kind of sink the whole operation, we’ve definitely seen a few instances of this. But the second piece of advice that I would definitely give is in regards to farming in general. Dealing with a living organism is not easy. Preparing for that living organism to go into the ground to become a product takes time. Plan on everything taking a lot longer than expected. And also things not always going to plan or hardly ever go according to plan. It just it doesn’t always work out. But I think having that tenacity to just continue forward and to really see your dream come to fruition is what it’s all about.

What a cool business and some great advice from these guys that I feel should be expanded on.

Get everything in writing” and “Plan on everything taking more time than you thought”. 

If you are planning on getting into hemp, take this advice to heart. On one site this year we dealt with unseasonal rain, freezing temps and wind gusts that delayed construction, field prep and ultimately getting our plants in the ground. Mother nature is unpredictable, already this season hail as ravaged plants in Oregon. Delays, capital, weather all can contribute to investment loss and failed partnerships. When partnerships fall apart it’s easier to pick up the pieces with thorough signed agreements. Finding the best companies to work with is hands down the best way to avoid issues.  I’m glad to see people like Victoria and Cameron trying to make the industry brighter by offering killer products, great service a more professional way of doing business. If you are interested in sourcing genetics from the Colorado Hemp Connection for the 2020 season, now is the time to start planning! Check out https://www.CoHempConnection.com or find them on Instagram at @cohempconnection

#Cultivation #September2019 #Hemp #KevinEdwards #Colorado

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