WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Legalizing hemp couldn't have come at a more perfect time for Brian Farris, “Seeing how Texas was coming into the forefront of what they're doing now, it was kind of a blessing in disguise.”
He moved back to Wichita Falls to take care of his mother. “Alzheimer’s and dementia, it helps with a lot of different factors of that,” making Hemp important to Brian and his mother.
It is why he worked with law makers and lobbyists to get it legalized.
“When you see your family going through what they're going through and you know that you have a thing that can help with that and just because it's not legal – I just don't want anyone else to have to think about breaking the law to make their family better,” he said.
Hemp is an ingredient in CBD oil which people can now use without worry since Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325 into law.
It is not just his family that Farris is looking to help. He plans to also open a hemp industrial processing plant in the city, giving Texoma farmers a place to process their harvest while also providing new jobs.
“Just because it says that it’s passed there’s still about 120 days before we can actually start putting seed in the ground,” he said.
Guidelines on how the new law will be implemented still have to be organized by the Texas Department of Agriculture and then approved by the USDA.
Farmers will then have to get licensed to start growing.
AgriLife County Extension agent David Graf says the big question from farmers right now is how to even grow hemp in the first place.
“It’s going to take a lot of research and planning to figure out what works in this area. Then let’s assume we can get to that point, what type of planting equipment does it take? What kind of harvesting equipment? Is it something that they have on hand? Do they have to go secure different equipment?” Graf stated.
While legally growing hemp means a potential cash crop for farmers, Graf says the ability to process it locally would be an extra win.
But he and Farris know getting to that point will take patience.
If successful Wichita County could be the leader in the hemp market in Texas. “They’ll be coming to us saying ‘Ok now we’ve got this done. Now what?’" Farris stated.