Budding farmers grow hemp thanks to Mother Nature


SHINNSTON, W.Va – As the summer lingers in the Mountain State, growers typically produce hay as well as soybeans and corn.

One cash crop, though, is on the rise, and it doesn’t come without its own controversy.

“Cannabis is the general plant and the difference between hemp and marijuana is going to be the THC levels,” said Lee Arco of Haberbosch Hills.

Cannabis plant at one of Haberbosch Hills’ farms in Harrison County

For hemp to remain legal in the state, the strictly regulated cannabis plant has to remain at zero-point-three percent THC or less, otherwise it is marijuana and has to be seized. 

With more than 175 legalized growers of cannabis registered in West Virginia in 2019, both farmers and the Department of Agriculture believe that the uptick of hemp is rampant across the Wild and Wonderful partly because of the perfect climate for growth.

“West Virginia is, and not a lot of people know this, is a great, almost like a miniature climate for the cannabis plant. We have the right combination of elevation, soil, humidity and the perfect amount of rain,” said Arco.

Because of the above average rainfall we’ve seen across the Mountain State over the past eighteen months, the cannabis plants are growing high and still have a ways to go.

For cannabis to stay as hemp, Arco says the plant has to remain in a light-stress environment to stay under its THC threshold as is the case with over 2,500 acres of it across the Mountain State.

Cannabis plants that are being grown into hemp on one of Haberbosch Hills’ farms in Harrison County

“When we started we were the 40th to get our license, so it’s kind of new in West Virginia and the CBD is hitting the high rise now,” said Harrison Arco of Haberbosch Hills.

Hemp is known for its health benefits as CBD oil to help ease the pain of consumers who use the product.

With all of the new innovation within the hemp industry, the buds will keep growing the family business.

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