SAN ANTONIO – Hemp farming has begun in Texas this year and one set of farmers outside Boerne says they have some of the first crops in the state.
The Texas Department of Agriculture began licensing farmers and businesses early this year to grow hemp after the state legislature greenlit farming of the plant.
“We were able to apply for a Texas hemp producers license, we received it, have four strains planted in Texas and I believe we planted the first seed in the state,” owner Austin Ruple said.
Ruple and his wife Jennifer own Pur IsoLabs and have sold hemp products for the past five years, now they are expanding their business by starting to grow hemp right next to their store.
"We had to build a greenhouse very quickly, get out lights in, get our hydroponic system in place and then we propagated our seeds and started growing, " Ruple said.
Most plants in their greenhouse already stand anywhere from four- to five-feet high and will soon be transferred into rows in the field next to it. The plants will continue to grow to about eight-feet high.
“We plan to extract a lot from these flowers and put them in our products so we can actually have everything sourced and grown here in Texas, and right on our farm,” Ruple said.
The hope is that when people stop by to visit their store and farm that is turns into an experience almost like a winery.
“What we’re going to be doing out back is having the farm set up the plants and offering tours so that people can come and experience it, see the plants and learn about the plants,” Jennifer Ruple said.
This is just the beginning for the hemp farm industry, the future looks very promising for a plant that can be used in many ways.
“There’s a lot of opportunities, a lot of chance for Texans to get in and develop parts of the industry that aren’t here yet,” Austin Ruple said.