A national drag racer and local beef cattle farmer has opened one of Virginia’s largest hemp farms in Montgomery County.

TruHarvest Farms owner, Matt Hagan, already had a passion for farming and hopes hemp will help the entire industry.

The 2018 Farm Bill permits farmers in the commonwealth to take part in the hemp industry. The bill was effective March 21 and eliminated the requirement that hemp only be grown for research purposes. 

Hagan started farming as soon as the farm bill passed. Within the past 3 months, he and his crew are halfway through planting 140,000 plants on 90 acres along Interstate 81.

Hagan says he saw the potential for a big farming boom. Although he didn’t know much about it, he believes it’s worth the risk.

“Everyday I feel better about it,” Hagan said, “The first couple of days starting this up I was ready to puke, cause it’s just the unknown, the fear of the unknown.”

Hagan hopes the hemp industry will improve the state’s economy and employ a lot of people. 

“We’ve picked up over 20 people to work this farm for this year and that alone is driving revenue back into our county and into our state,” Hagan said. 

According to the Federation of American Scientist, the hemp industry brings in nearly $700 million to the U.S.

Hagan plans on selling the plant to be used to create CBD oil and strives to break the stigma behind hemp. It does contain THC, but a significantly less amount than marijuana.

“When you put that into perspective I mean you’d have to smoke a whole field out here to get any type of psychoactive part of that,” Hagan said. 

In the future, Hagan hopes to open up the farm to educate people on the uses of hemp and it’s differences from marijuana. 

Hagan says if things go well, he may be scaling up to 300 or even 400 acres next year.