By Carissa Wigginton | Cronkite News
Gazing over the cotton fields on his 300-acre farm outside Casa Grande, Paul Ollerton weighed the risks and opportunities of a new crop that, come this summer, will be legal to grow for the first time in decades.
Paco Ollerton just finished harvesting his 38th cotton crop on his farm outside Casa Grande. (Photo by Meg Potter/Cronkite News)
Ollerton, 64, is a third-generation farmer who has just harvested his 38th cotton crop, and he’s cautiously looking to get involved with industrial hemp.
“God knows we need something that’s a little bit more profitable than what cotton has been for the last few years,” he said.
Hemp holds promise and potential for farmers like Ollerton, who are looking to diversify their crops or find new ways to make money in farming. But it’s also a gamble.
Jordan Rose, founder and President of Rose Law Group who has been working with farmers and business owners looking to cultivate hemp says, “The Arizona rules were adopted with the idea of allowing our state to become a market leader in hemp production. The fact that hemp uses less water than many of our traditional Arizona crops is really an added bonus!”