Hemp blocks could be the next big thing to help with a housing crisis. Here’s how one CEO turned his family farm from soybeans to hemp for buildings.
What happened: Gold Standard Farms was the first company to be selected for an incubation program by former NBA player Al Harrington, but it didn’t come easy.
Jarrel Howard, CEO of Gold Standard Farms, recalls contacting all the connections he had who had previously played in the NBA and also messaged Harrington on LinkedIn. After 18 months of no response and persistence, Howard tried a new approach.
Howard told the audience of the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference that it was a photo of a purple hemp strain that eventually caught Harrington’s attention.
Gold Standard Farms was ultimately selected, with Howard citing the family farm’s 81-year history and past success as the reason.
“My great-grandfather started our farm in 1931. It took him 10 years to save $3,000 so he could buy it,” Howard said of the Northwest Tennessee property.
Howard said the existing business and years of farming history gave credibility to Harrington’s involvement.
“That’s what sets us apart.”
Related Link: NBA Great Al Harrington Joins Benzinga, Discusses New Cannabis Ventures, Social Equality & More
Running the Farm: After years of using traditional crops like soybeans, wheat and corn, low margins led Howard to switch the farm to hemp.
“In 2018, we got into the CBD industry,” said Howard. “We wanted something that could give us another 80 years.”
In addition to higher margins than traditional crops, growing hemp has a new impact on social justice by reducing CO2 emissions
“We are currently at 51 billion tons of emissions per year, which we need to reduce.”
One way hemp can help is by replacing traditional materials with a product called Hempblocks.
“Hemp blocks are the future of building in the United States.”
Howard said hemp blocks can not only save costs, but are also fire retardant, carbon negative, termite resistant and hurricane resistant.
“It keeps you cooler in the summer, it keeps you warmer in the winter.”
Howard said his company’s product can help construction companies build homes 70% faster and save 30% in costs.
The company currently operates in Tennessee, but could expand with Howard agreeing with panel host Arcadian Capital’s Krishnan Varier that there is a housing shortage.
“We have plans to expand to four other locations,” Howard said.
Howard told Varier that he thinks it’s pretty cool to live in a hemp house.
Photo: Matteo Paganelli via Unsplash
This post EXCLUSIVE: Turning a Traditional Farm to Hemp: How a Founder Sees Hemp Making the World Better, Including Housing
was original published at “https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/22/04/26748738/pivoting-a-traditional-farm-to-hemp-how-one-founder-sees-hemp-improving-the-world-and-a-housing-“