Land Access for The XY Hemp Corporation

March 25, 2015 The XY Hemp Corporation completes a significant step in our business plan: signing the crop share agreement with Breadroot Farms.

The crop share agreement is a hybrid between a traditional crop share contract and a production agreement. This flexibility has allowed us to craft a truly unique partnership with our organic producers, Hélène Tremblay-Boyko and Al Boyko. We are growing 60 acres of hemp this summer and sharing input costs and profits from the sale. This structure allows The XY Hemp Corporation to share risk, costs and access mentorship from experienced organic producers.

As young professionals, C and I have limited experience with agriculture. An 8-month co-op term at the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture exposed me to different land access arrangements for young farmers. These alternative models of land access include incubator farms, land linking, co-operative farming and farmland trusts. Breadroot farms is actively searching for young agrarians to take over sustainable operations on their farm through land linking initiatives such as FARMLink. Al and Hélène have also set aside land for a farmland trust called Farmland Legacies. Our joint venture is a blend of land linking and co-operative farming.

Star Spangled (Future) Hemp Field on Breadroot Farms, SK
Star Spangled (Future) Hemp Field on Breadroot Farms, SK

In exchange for a land rental fee, a 30% share of seed sales and reimbursement for machinery operations, Breadroot Farms is providing The XY Hemp Corporation with 60 acres of pristine organic land and the mentorship of organic farmers with over 20 years of experience growing field crops in Saskatchewan. The location is perfect for hemp seed sales: close to the Manitoba border where the majority of hemp processing occurs.

Al and Hélène have grown a wide variety of field crops, but have never grown hemp. C and I were able to apply for a license to grow industrial hemp from Health Canada with permission from Breadroot farms. This application has been received and processed and we anticipate our license to be issued at the end of April, 2015. We have also accessed the support of Larry Marshall, an experience organic hemp farmer in Northern Saskatchewan. With these three incredible resources, C and I will learn so much about farming this summer.

The crop share agreement is the first contract on a series that sets our dreams into motion. Our next major milestone will be a production contract with a seed buyer. The XY Hemp Corporation and Breadroot Farms are currently reviewing several contracts and are very excited to move forward together!

-K

P.S. My pitch video is still up for votes online, please watch and give it a little “heart”

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Pitch It! Plan It! Build It!

Start-up companies need lots of support, from our friends and family who understand why we are working late and always on the phone, to the incredibly valuable advice offered to young entrepreneurs. This week, The XY Hemp Corporation is meeting and working with start-up accelerators in Victoria and Edmonton for additional support.

The Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE) at the University of Victoria has been an excellent resource during the development of our business plan. After an initial intake meeting, we were directed towards Lean Stack, an online platform that helps entrepreneurs define their products and markets more clearly. These one-page descriptions of our products and customers are perfect for showcasing where we are now, and where we want to be in five years.

We are  participating in a few pitch and plan competitions through ICE this spring. My video submission for PitchIt! is online now, so please watch it and give me a little “heart” so The XY Hemp Corporation can win $500. I will be presenting the elevator pitch live for a panel of judges on March 31st, for another cash prize of $300. These funds will help C and I travel to Saskatchewan this summer to work with Breadroot Farms.

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ICE entrepreneur coach, Robin Milne, has been absolutely amazing. He has helped get my pitch and plan together by providing advice, resources, and letting me just talk things out. Recently, he helped to edit a short company description to submit to TEC Edmonton. The submission was successful and we have an initial meeting with TEC Edmonton Thursday March 19. The XY Hemp Corporation is looking to access the support of a larger start-up accelerator, and TEC Edmonton is the best in Canada!

TEC Edmonton was named the number one start-up incubator in Canada and the number three university business incubator in North America in 2014.  We are most interested in the services provided by the business development, technology management and entrepreneur education teams. TEC Edmonton is an ideal partner as we move beyond the pilot and expanded production phase and into processing industrial hemp. The TEC Venture prize is also an amazing opportunity for start-ups to access capital for expansion, and we hope to be able to compete in that competition after we have solidified our processing goals.

We are extremely grateful for the support we have already received, from Breadroot Farms, Larry Marshall and ICE, just to name a few! With their help we have developed a viable business case for 2015 that will be presented at the ICE PlanIt! competition on April 2nd. If we are successful in that competition, The XY Hemp Corporation will win $5000, which will contribute to our input costs and the transportation of hemp seeds to the commercial buyer. Farming is uncertain and more capital will give us more flexibility when responding to growing conditions this summer. We are very excited to work with ICE to pitch it and plan it, and hope to work with TEC Edmonton in the future to build our dream.

-K

P.S. link to PitchIt! video is: http://uvicpitchitonline.hscampaigns.com/ . Remember to click the little heart!

 

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name, would smell as sweet”

-W. Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

While a rose may smell as sweet by any other name, The XY Hemp Corporation sounds much sweeter to me than our previous numbered corporation. This week we are celebrating a small accomplishment: we have chosen a name for our company and made the change official!

At first, it may sound like a placeholder name but it was in fact chosen carefully to reflect our corporation culture and vision.

The XY Hemp Corporation is an ode to Canadian history. Canada was settled by corporate interests before the colonial powers of Britain and France decided to establish colonies and send settlers to the new country. Two powerful trading groups, The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, competed for domination in the fur trade in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Hudson’s Bay Company was centrally controlled from London and had very a strict hierarchy, whereas the NorthWest Company was headquartered in Montreal and consisted of partnerships between traders across the country. The NorthWest Company eventually achieved full integration when a London office was opened to market furs from the company. Many of the shareholders of the NorthWest company were voyageurs: traders who lived in Canada and spent their winters in Canadian wilderness. Although power was more decentralized in the NorthWest Company, there was disagreement between the winterers and the management in Montreal. In 1799, the western fur traders broke away from The NorthWest Company to form the New NorthWest Company, also known as the XY Company.

The XY Hemp Corporation aims to become the #1 hemp processing firm in Canada through partnerships and collaboration. We are independent thinkers and firmly rooted in western Canada. Innovation is the key to what makes us different. Our innovative partnership approach to enter the agriculture sector is just the beginning. Willing to take calculated risks and compete with bigger corporations, our competitive advantage is the flexibility to start small and grow into new markets.

Happy #HempDay

XX

-K

Organic Farming in 2015

I am beyond excited to be organic farming this coming summer. Although I have been interested in growing hemp for over 2 years now, last fall my dream began to transform into reality. When my business partner and I began to look for a suitable piece of land to grow a pilot hemp crop,  we were open to conventional farming, but were fortunate enough to find organic farming partners.

Our longterm goal is to build a fully integrated processing facility, using waste hemp fibres to create new products, but I recognize that we have a lot to learn before we get to that stage. This goal does motivate us to look for the most sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. With no farming experience, we were looking for mentors in conventional or organic farming to lease land and machinery to grow a pilot crop and we did not expect to find organic land easily. I found an online land linking service provided by the Government of Canada, the Agriculture Management Institute, and the Government of Ontario called FARMLink. This website is a meeting point for new farmers, established farmers and farmland owners. After building a profile describing the land in which we were looking for (50+ acres in Alberta or Saskatchewan) and ourselves (new young farmers with no experience looking for mentorship to grow industrial hemp) we were contacted within days by established farmers near Canora Saskatchewan.

The match could not have been better! Hélène and Al own a large organic farm in eastern Saskatchewan, close the the Manitoba boarder, called Breadroot Farms. The Government of Manitoba has been extremely supportive of the industrial hemp market since legalization in Canada in 1998. This support has enabled the development of a hemp food processing industry lead by Manitoba Harvest and Hemp Oil Canada. Although Al and Hélène have never grown hemp before, they have over 20 years of experience in organic farming and are excited mentors for young farmers of the future. Consider contacting them if you are looking to settle on pristine organic land and continue a tradition of sustainable farming in Saskatchewan.

The opportunity to grow our pilot crop on organic land using traditional organic practices is a dream come true. From the very start, our company will embody our beliefs about building a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. We can all influence this future through the products we buy, how we choose to earn a living, how we vote and our conversations. Through mentorship, collaboration and innovation our dream of growing hemp begins this summer.