On Saturday, Aug. 25, The West Virginia Farmers Cooperative welcomed a number of volunteers and interested persons from five states to the Old Sweet Springs Resort in Monroe County to help with the harvest and to learn more about hemp and its uses, led by Don Smith II, founder and J. Morgan Leach, CEO of the West Virginia Hemp Farmers Cooperative.
This was only the second year of legal hemp cultivation in West Virginia since World War II, under a license from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
Don Smith II, licensed hemp farmer and president of the West Virginia Hemp Farmers Cooperative (WVHFC Inc), planted a test plot on the property owned by the Sweets Springs Resort Park Foundation in June. The old hotel property was partially designed by Thomas Jefferson, who himself was a hemp farmer. All parts of the hemp plant are usable to produce many different products. The plants harvested on the property now managed by the Sweets Springs Resort Park Foundation, a public nonprofit organization, will be used for various projects including research.
The Old Sweet Springs Hotel came to fame in the late 1700s and early 1800s for its reported healing waters and attracted patrons from across the country and abroad. Patrons would make the trip to the area by train, coach, horseback, buggy and any other means possible. Many doctors from that time believed that the area’s spring water possessed cures for everything from acne to tuberculosis. It is still regarded by many to have medicinal qualities. The resort is believed to possibly be America’s oldest standing resort. Buildings on the property date from the late 1700s through the mid 1800s.
According to Smith, “This first crop grown at the Sweet Springs site was outstanding and promises to create another exciting new business on this old resort property and help to diversify West Virginia’s economy with a new cash crop.”
Only part of the crop from this site was harvested during the visit to Sweet Springs, the rest will be harvested soon. There are currently 14 licensed holders who can harvest industrial hemp as members of the WV Hemp Farmers Cooperative Inc. If interested in learning more about growing hemp in West Virginia visit wvhemp.org, or follow them on Face book at WV Hemp.