Colorado Hemp Farmer Michael Rivera with Tisha Casida, CEO of That's Natural
Interview with Michael Rivera of Colorado Direct Produce
What made you decide to get into hemp farming?
Growing up, I helped out on my family’s land - farming cattle, olives, and grapes. I started hemp farming because it is a high value crop with an emerging industry. I believe that by growing hemp, I can impact the world positively to my maximum capacity by providing healthy produce and promoting the expansion of the industry.
Can you describe more about your operation?
I live on the farm in the San Luis Valley. I try to do everything I can myself to keep it simple and reduce expenses. One of the best ways I’ve found to progress in anything is to do it everyday and that’s how I farm. This is a hands on operation and I like to have daily interaction with the plants. I prefer to be surrounded by my work maintaining a constant effort for improvement.
What are your “farming practices”?
I am a full supporter and firm believer in science and conventional agriculture. I always start with what is known to science when I approach any problem. I’m proud to say that I did not have to use any pesticides on the crop this 2016 season. The decision started out to reduce expenses and now I see more than that. So many people are obsessing over “organic” but those methods often use more pesticides than other conventional methods. I’m interested in finding methods to reduce all pesticide use to the absolute minimum to achieve the most natural unadulterated product. I intend on growing hemp for years to come so I am focused on developing the most economical and sustainable practices for this crop. My mantra is “less is more.”
What do you foresee with the hemp that you are farming?
I see the hemp industry expanding internationally. I think the versatility of the plant could provide various beneficial impacts to the environment. Hemp produces double the textile as cotton and could help reduce water consumption, pesticide use (cotton uses 16% of the world’s pesticides), and release land to be used for other crops to be grown, particularly food. I also think that hemp gives farmers an opportunity to make more money which will in-turn attract more people to start farming as the demand for food increases.
What is the most exciting thing about what you are doing?
I am most excited to be one of the first to grow commercial hemp since prohibition began in September of 1937. There’s a lot of uncharted territory with unreliable seed, misinformation, and complete lack of support from banking establishments so it’s kind of been a wild ride. I am excited to be a part of this industry and bring hemp, arguably the most useful plant in existence, back to the people.
That's Natural is proud to support local family farmers who are passionate about the growing practices that lead to great products! Remember, at That's Natural you will always know your entire supply chain! Know your farmer, know your distiller, know your manufacturer - when it comes to souring a CBD-rich hemp oil product, That's Natural has you covered. 100% Traceability and 100% Transparency.... That's Natural!