(HOI) — Since growing hemp in Illinois became legal in April, reports show nearly 500 people have received licenses to grow it statewide.
The new opportunity is drawing one farmer back to his home state.
“I moved here to Illinois because my family is wildly passionate hemp and the cannabis plant as a whole. I hope we can bring some of our expertise and knowledge, not only to the farming side of it, but we are starting a CBD store and we can bring quality to the forefront,” said Paul Imoberstag.
Paul lived in Colorado for nearly a decade growing recreational marijuana on a mass scale. His family has roots here, with his uncle being Bud Grieves, a former mayor of Peoria. The hemp plants are grown on Bud’s property in Banner.
“We’ve planted approximately 8,000 plants in total with different styles. We did some directly sowed into the ground, however, those didn’t turn out so well. We got only 25 percent germination rate. We started around 7,000 from seed trays and raised them to around three weeks old and then we transplanted them out here,” Paul said.
The investment to plant one acre of corn or soybeans is roughly $1,000. Hemp on the other hand is a much larger investment.
“To plant an acre of high quality hemp, what we would be growing for the CBD value, it would cost roughly anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 to plant out roughly each acre,” said Paul.
Just like most people growing hemp in Illinois for the first time, the Imoberstags are fearful for harvest season. Just one mistake could wipe out a large monetary investment and their whole season’s work.