Homestead Hemp Farm : family industry of cannabis and self-care
When we are scrolling news about cannabis legalization, amendments, or protests, it seems that the cannabis industry is pretty fresh. But, there are successful cases of the cannabis dynasty. Such companies implement a classical farming tradition and family business model into the industry. Today, we want to tell the story of Homestead Hemp Farm.
“The rooted structure of The Old Homestead, now Homestead Hemp 1787, dates back 233 years when Reverend Clark Rogers established the farm in upstate New York. The property was said to be bought from a Revolutionary War soldier who was paid in land for his efforts in the war.
The land has seen many hands, as the property and the farm have always been passed down generation after generation to the sons in the Rogers family.
Fast forward to 2017, when the opportunity to reactivate the farm presented itself in the form of growing and researching hemp for the state of New York. The farm was renamed Homestead Hemp 1787 and experienced its first female managers in eight generations of family farming. At first, the goal was to give the farm a purpose; a reason to thrive, but the Rogers family has found a passion that goes far beyond the goal of saving the family farm.
Over the last three years, Rogers have witnessed firsthand the benefits associated with CBD and have seen how it can change people’s lives for the better. They’ve made it their mission to bottle up all the magic that grows at Homestead Hemp and share it to help others find relief through physical, mental, and emotional struggles. Homestead Hemp is proud to provide a trusted source of small-batch, carefully crafted CBD oil and to represent an authentic, transparent brand built from eight generations of family farming.”
Homestead Hemp Farm has a rich history, but a personal life story about face of the company may be also captivating. Iris Rogers paved the wavy way for the position of cannabis expert.
“Before taking the reins of the family farm, I was pursuing a professional singing career and had just graduated from Purchase College with a Bachelor’s in Music. My career in the spotlight however started before my college education. I moved to the city at 18 years old after being scouted by a modeling agency at a gas station. I wasn’t sure about my plans and I thought if I passed up the opportunity to model, I would regret it later in life. So once again, I dove in headfirst to an industry I knew nothing about. While modeling was something I had always dreamed of, my continuous struggle with anxiety started to take a toll the further I got into the heart of the industry. This way of life was a big undertaking, to say the least, and the stress of the transition, the weighty sacrifices, and the challenging hurdles got to me.
Through CBD, I’ve found a natural, plant-based way to stay grounded, while also combatting my anxiety, and the effects it has on my skin. Better yet, I now grow my own relief and have made it my mission to bottle up all the goodness that grows here at Homestead Hemp, and share it with as many people as possible”
Let’s meet Iris Rogers
Iris, who is your audience?
My audience varies but generally lies in the 25-35 age range with the majority being female. My audience has high respect for self-care, as well as overcoming day-to-day anxieties and mental stressors.
What is the most differentiating quality of your brand that makes it authentic?
I love this question. Most CBD brands you see these days are white-label brands. Meaning–a company starts a CBD brand, they source their CBD oil from a distributor that’s mass processing, and the brand slaps their label on a product bottle.
What makes my brand authentic: I am the brand owner AND I grow the hemp myself. From sourcing the seeds to the finished product on the shelf, I am involved in every step of the process. Our hemp is consciously grown on my 235-year-old family farm that has managed to stay in my family since 1787. I’m the 8th generation to grow on the land and the first woman. Regenerative soil and organic growth are my top priorities, along with providing education about cannabis and products that show results.
Today, how many people are employed at Homestead Hemp Farm?
During the summer into harvest season, we have 4-5 part-time employees, but year-round, I do most of the work myself. I wear like 8 different hats and am never really not working. I do finally have a social media manager which has helped significantly, and as I continue to grow, I hope to expand my team even more. Baby steps!
What is your production volume?
After growing 5 acres in 2018, and then 8 in 2019, I learned very quickly that a little bit of hemp can go a long way. I also learned that at a smaller scale, it is much easier to grow a higher quality crop, as well as a more abundant crop. So for the last two years, I have only grown an acre, and I have been able to harvest high-quality poundage from that.
” Trust your gut and check emotional decisions at the door”
Iris, once you have admitted that the most difficult part of the work with family is the fact that you work with family. Please, share some insights, on how to run the company if you are not the only decision-maker.
Some families I think are better at working with each other than others. Unfortunately, my sister and I, who were both equal partners at the start of the company, were not compatible with being equal decision-makers. After she left the company in 2019, I became the main decision-maker, but often seek counsel from my investors as well as my other family members. I’ve learned that you’re kidding yourself if you think you know everything. You have to put pride aside to ask questions, analyze the bigger picture, hear people out, but above everything else, trust your gut. I’ve also found when working with family members, you have to check emotional decisions at the door, and treat your business as a professional workspace/business. I also cannot stress enough….get EVERYTHING in writing, on paper. Hiring a lawyer at the beginning of the process is WORTH IT. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they won’t try and take advantage somewhere, so get that stuff in writing.
Which Homestead Hemp Farm products are bestsellers?
My best sellers are the 650 mg oil, which is the best oil to start with if you are new to CBD, and our CBD pre-rolls–specifically the Suver Haze pre-roll. It has great taste!
What fact about CBD makeup or wellness products can be convincing for non-users?
CBD skincare I’m learning is tricky! People are very careful about what they put on their skin–as they should be. The number one rule for ANY CBD product is to make sure the brand is transparent about where its oil is sourced from. If they don’t provide test results, or make that readily available on their website–thank you next. That is also how you will be able to tell the difference between a trend and a reliable product. Cannabinoids such as CBD and CBC can help reduce redness and irritation, balance oil production, and can heal damaged skin/scarring.
What is your product the best for cannabis newbies?
For newbies who are looking to overcome anxieties or improve sleep, I always recommend the 650 mg oil to start. The 650 is great to start because you might find it’s all you need to make that difference. However, I do see users upgrading to the 1200 mg oil, which usually means their anxiety, pain or stress is a little more intense.
Which one can amuse even an experienced person?
I’d say my CBD facial serum would be the most amusing to an experienced person because I bet they didn’t know cannabinoids could help their skin so much.
Is there anything in the plans for your company in the near future? Growth, new products, or lines of goods?
There is! I can’t quite release information on a new project hopefully coming out soon, but as for products we are working on finishing our line of bath bombs, creating something to pair nicely with our facial serum, and looking to formulate something that is going to target more direct joint and physical pain. I’m so excited!
Are all of your relatives and friends are open-minded to the cannabis industry? Is the attitude of your environment always good
I think it wasn’t at first, not that anyone in my family was openly against it, they were all very supportive. But I also think they just didn’t have all the information and education. Now that it’s been a few years, they’re experts and are always recommending my business and sending people my way that they think I can help.
The cliché has been a number one priority for me to eradicate
Iris, your start in the cannabis industry was unusual. You were the musician and model when you have struggled with anxiety and cannabis was a solution. Was it the discovery for you? I mean have not you had a cliche about cannabis as entertainment just for being high?
The cliche has been a number one priority for me to eradicate. People ask me all the time if I’m “that pot farmer” and I say “no”. They look at me confused and I know that’s my opportunity to educate and explain. I’ve got the answer memorized. I’ve said it so many times! I started growing hemp and producing CBD because of the discovery that it helped me as well as others. I also started this journey to help give my family farm a purpose A new heartbeat. It was within that goal that I saw how much hemp, and cannabis in general, was changing people’s lives. I’m an empath and all I want to do is help people. Helping people through this incredible plant then became the main focus.
Have you ever faced funny stereotypes about growers? For example, you should be a fan of Bob Marley or laugh all the time?
The number of times people have looked at me and said, you’re not a farmer, or that it’s “cute” I own my own business, or that I don’t look like a pothead, is unreal. It’s a daily basis thing. It gets old after a while, so I don’t really entertain or play into it anymore.
How do you spend your leisure? What hobbies do you have?
During the busy season, May through November, I don’t have a ton of time for my personal life or hobbies but when I do have a little free time, I like to cook, I love movies, I hike with my dog, go see live music any chance I get, and sometimes perform and sing locally at Fort Salem Theater.
What does the family evening of growers look like?
Well, it’s my parent’s farm, but I lease the land I use from them. My mom gardens a lot around the farm, and my dad will help with setting up irrigation, getting the plants in the ground, and helping manage the weeds in between the rows. My Uncle Bruce is the spearhead on our farm equipment, maintenance, and plays a huge role in planting/harvesting. I really love that my family supports me, and often lets me take the lead, but is always offering suggestions, and trying to offer any help they can. My mom is a teacher, my dad works for the board of Elections and my uncle is retired.
If I am not mistaken, you are a cannabis smoker. What strain can you recommend?
While I LOVE all forms of cannabis and used to smoke Marijuana in college, it was around 26 years old–the start of the pandemic– when I started having extreme anxiety when smoking weed. I will sometimes smoke socially, but I don’t smoke solo anymore. I’ve found smoking CBD is my go-to now, as it reduces my anxiety, not amplifies it. I love the Suver Haze strain we offer the most, it’s a little sweet and smells like grape soda to me.
The last question is pretty serious. What can help for destigmatizing cannabis?
EDUCATION!!! People change their tunes when they have all the info. For all the curious people in the world, I think sometimes they’re too proud to ask. Cannabis has been put in a certain category of people’s brains for years. Education and exposure are what we need to destigmatize.
I hope, you were enjoying this article as well, as we were while making it. We are very grateful for Iris’s sincerity. It is essential to know, that even successful people are struggling with stress, anxiety, and work challenges. As Iris said, educate yourself and stay grounded. Visit the official site for more info and goods.
All photos were taken from the official site of Homestead Hemp Farm.