During a struggling economic time, many farmers are looking for fresh ideas to generate income. Green Point Research announced the rollout of its Farmers First initiative, a unique pilot program in which it will restore struggling and inoperative farms in Florida by helping them pivot into a new, alternative crop: industrial hemp.
Hemp is a low maintenance, high-yield crop that can grow with little to no pesticides. It can be cultivated for more than 25,000 industrial uses, including clothing, nutritional supplements, biodegradable plastics, fuel, and more. Colorado is currently the country’s leader in hemp production with more than 30,000 registered acres of hemp crops.
“Hemp plants are the way of the future,” said David Hasenauer, CEO of Green Point Research. “Our research has proven hemp to be a viable, sustainable, and cost-effective crop for Florida. We intend to use our expertise in growing and producing hemp to help our farmers thrive and positively impact the economic development of our communities.”
GPR’s pilot program is already underway, beginning with the restoration of Boynton Beach’s family-owned-and-operated farm, Whitworth Farms, once known locally for having the finest farm-fresh tomatoes, before the lowered price of imported tomatoes drove them out of business.
GPR took possession of Whitworth Farms on April 18, 2019. The design work, engineering, and architecture are already in progress. GPR aims to have the farm operational, with hemp seeds planted by the end of 2019 in accordance with rules to be promulgated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Wade Glenn Whitworth Jr, a third-generation produce farmer and seventh-generation Floridian, is directly involved in the project. His grandfather, John I. Whitworth II, launched Whitworth Farms in 1949 after returning from duty during in WWII. The Whitworth family farm began in Fort Lauderdale and slowly migrated north as the population grew, eventually settling in its current location in 1972.
“I cannot express in words what this program means to me and my family,” said Whitworth Jr. “Through this program, it is my understanding that Green Point Research aims to revive Florida’s once major agricultural industry, and we are grateful to be a part of the up and coming hemp industry.”
GPR is dedicated to upholding good manufacturing practices to ensure product safety and says it intends to roll out this initiative, first introduced at Whitworth Farms, to other family farms across the state.