ALBANY — Sedrick Rowe broke ground this year in a billion-dollar industry: hemp. He became one of the first black, south Georgia farmers licensed to grow the crop in the Peach State. And his history-making harvest succeeded during the global pandemic, too.
Recently, his success story has piqued the interest of new producers wanting to enter the hemp force. So he decided to teach — initially in his hometown of Albany — the ins and outs to starting and sustaining a hemp operation.
Rowe is offering a one-day crash course, “How to grow hemp in South Georgia.” The social distancing and mask session takes place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Jan. 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany.
Seating is limited due to COVID-19.
“I want farmers to understand what it really takes to become a successful hemp farmer in the South,” Rowe, owner of Rowe Organic Farms in Albany, said. “Conditions here aren’t always ideal. There are important steps you must take, though, before you even step on your land.”
In partnership with USDA’s Southern SARE and USDA grant project Black Farmers’ Network, the course will discuss the processes and procedures to establishing a hemp enterprise.
Local guest speakers joining Rowe are Albert Etheridge, co-founder/COO of local processor Pretoria Fields, and Lewis Rickerson, another licensed hemp grower.
Black Farmers’ Network is a platform for rural, African-American farmers to share stories, products and services in a now digital-driven economy. In an effort to change the narrative of Rural America, the network also documents the agribusiness successes of these first-year to centennial farmers — farmers who have had to confront a discriminating history for centuries in America’s Black Belt Region. BFN formed to not only report on these experiences but provide 21st-century marketing and branding strategies to help their rural enterprises grow and sustain online.