In hemp, representation matters

By Laura Drotleff

(This story appears in the October issue of Marijuana Business Magazine)

People of all ethnicities want to feel comfortable in the workplace, and that often begins with seeing faces that look like their own represented within their company and the industry as a whole. It also means seeing a clear path for advancement within an organization beyond becoming a token employee or “checking a box” and feeling a connection with the company’s mission.

In agriculture, that’s a challenge, as many people see it as an industry owned by “old white guys.” And demographics back up that assertion.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, 95% of American farm producers were white, the average age was 57.5 and producers had been on their current farm for an average of 21.3 years. Those trends project into the hemp industry, as many farmers of traditional crops are diversifying into hemp production.

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