Hemp production underway in Bridger Valley

High Uinta Hemp owners Amy Schofield Kitchel and Ramona Hobbs Allen show some of the hemp products they offer. The company has been growing hemp plants in a greenhouse and hopes to plant them to its 62-acre field soon. (COURTESY PHOTO)

EVANSTON — “My cousin in California is a hemp grower, and as soon as Wyoming made it legal, he encouraged me to start growing it here,” Amy Schofield Kitchel of Bridger Valley told the Herald. “My cousin, Ramona Hobbs Allen, and I have been making and selling CBD products for a year and buying the oil from him and others, so it made sense to grow our own. Our company, High Uinta Hemp, is completely woman owned and woman operated.”

The website for High Uinta Hemp in Bridger Valley displays a variety of CBD products, ranging from capsules, gummies, massage oil, pet herbal drops, tincture drops, gels, sprays and ointments. The majority of their sales are done online, at craft fairs and through repeat customers. Their motto is “The Hemp Paved Road to a Better Future.”

Prior to going into private business, Kitchel worked for 23 years in the trona mines, and Allen worked in several oilfield business offices for 25 years. Allen said when the oilfields dried up in 2016, she was laid off. She went back to work in 2019 only to be laid off again this year. They both decided they wanted to work for themselves and started their company. They have grown up with ranching and farming, so they said they felt comfortable moving into growing their own hemp.   

Kitchel and Allen are working with a consultant and the Bridger Valley Hemp Association. Their hemp-growing business has been licensed and approved by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and they use recommended reputable resources for seed. They have plants growing in a greenhouse ready for planting on 62 acres of land, which they pretested to ensure there were no herbicides or pesticides in the soil. The two women said they are waiting for the cold front to pass and then they and family members will be working hard to get plants in the ground.

High Uinta Hemp uses organic techniques as stated on the website, “Our farm utilizes the best practices in an effort to raise the best naturally grown, high quality CBD hemp in Wyoming. For plant nutrition and soil health we use organic compost and fertilizers. Our hemp is not treated with pesticides and no herbicides are applied to our fields or greenhouse plants.”

They realize they will have to acquire specialized equipment for extracting the CBD oil and are checking out all resources and help available from the Bridger Valley Hemp Association. Harvesting the flower also requires intense manual labor and, once again, their families will help.

“I believe we are the first ones in Uinta County to grow hemp,” Kitchel said. “We will be growing the hemp for CBD oils to use in our products and the flower will be used as a smokable product, which will meet the legal low amount of THC. There is no market for fiber as of yet, so the rest of the plant will be turned back into the soil.”

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