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KinFolk Farms is hard at work drying and processing its hemp plants at the Edray Industrial Park facility. Above, Joe Rappold, in a cherry picker, cuts down dried plants, as the rest of the crew – from left: Bobby Mitchell, Tommy Shipp, David Tolar and R.W. Burns – collect them. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

After sitting empty for more than 30 years, the Edray Industrial Park facility is packed to the brim with hemp plants as KinFolk Farms is in the process of harvesting, drying and packing up the plants to be used for CBD products.

Last week, R.W. Burns and his crew were hard at work in Edray, while his business partners – Clay Condon and Adam Craten – were cutting plants at the farm in Hillsboro.

Once the plants are collected and brought to the Edray facility, they are strung onto rope and hung from the ceiling to dry.
“We have two air handler [machines],” Burns said. “These guys will exchange the air in the building two and half times per hour. This takes all the water out and warms up the air. The plants come in at six pounds and get down to a pound when they’re dry.”

When the plants are fully dry, the crew takes a cherry picker and a homemade cutting tool up to the ceiling to cut them down. The plants are then run through a machine with a cutter wheel that cuts the leaves and flowers off of the stems.

Before the final product is collected into sacks – or “bucked,” Burns said they do final tests to ensure the THC levels are below the state limit.

“We do a couple different tests,” he said. “We do hand versus machine to see CBD content. Then, we can measure how much a plant yields.

“We are two-thirds of the way harvested,” he added. “We are two-thirds dry. We are basically one-third bucked.”

Since the company is new to the process, there are many learning curves that come into play, as well as ideas for more hemp-based products.

Not content to just focus on harvesting the current biomass, Burns said he and Condon are both looking at ways to use the discarded materials – mainly stems – which do not go into the final product.

“Clay and I are fighting over who gets the waste because he has a product idea and I have a product idea,” Burns said. “I’m going to start a pilot test for our company and it’s called Smoke – Hemp Barbecue.

“I want to get in and start competing [in the barbecue field] – this is my fantasy,” he continued. “This may never happen. I’ve got these things I’m going to try. It could be the best thing in the world or it couldn’t.”

Condon’s idea, on the other hand, will be a way to use the materials to help fuel next year’s process.

“Clay [Condon] – who’s brilliant with his concepts, too – wants to pelletize this and turn it into a fuel so we can then take each year’s scrap and help fuel our processes for the following year,” Burns said. “Both great ideas. We’ll see if it ever hits the ground.”

Although they haven’t finished for the season, Burns has kept a positive attitude through the process and is proud of where the business stands at this point.

“We’re hitting all the benchmarks that we wanted except, we’re waiting to see the bottom line,” he said. “Did we make money this year? Can we fully fund next year? It’s a fun, exciting thing to be looking at. We’re prepared for either thing.

“Our goal is to continue to grow our company, to make it bigger,” he continued. “We’re fired up.”

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