Colorado farmers and ranchers have long depended on 4Rivers Equipment for all their farming needs, from tractors and planters to parts and service. 4Rivers Equipment traces its history all the way back to 1926, when it started as a small John Deere agriculture equipment dealer in Holly.
In recent years, however, a new kind of farmer has found a partner in 4Rivers Equipment, which is based in Greeley and has 15 stores throughout the state. Colorado hemp producers have added a new crop to 4Rivers’ lineup of customers as the state’s hemp industry continues to boom.
“With several agricultural crops like traditional corn, beans and sugar beets being depressed, hemp has added another option for Colorado farmers and has given us new customers over the past couple of years,” says Allen T. Matsuda, Territory Manager in Agricultural Sales for 4Rivers Equipment. “A few years ago, hemp was virtually an unknown crop. People thought it would be here today and gone tomorrow, but instead it has really ramped up.”
Hemp was prohibited by the federal government for many years due to its correlation with marijuana, but more and more consumers are learning about its variety of valuable uses, from fiber products such as clothing and rope to CBD oil, fuel and health products.
Since 2013, hemp has become Colorado’s new cash crop – there were nearly 500 registered hemp farmers in Colorado in 2017, and the state produced a third of the total hemp grown in the nation. By the end of 2018, Colorado hemp farmers will have harvested more than 18,000 acres of hemp, compared with only 200 acres in 2014.
It’s important to note that even though hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, cannabis sativa, they are not the same. They come from different parts of the plant, and hemp contains almost no THC (less than 0.3 percent), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the feeling of being high.
“Many of our customers produce hemp for CBD oil for its medicinal needs, and others for fiber,” Matsuda explains. “We are learning so much about the hemp industry, and all the products it helps make. There are many products I never dreamed hemp was part of.”
Hemp producers are relying on 4Rivers for all the equipment needed, from planting to harvesting their crop.
“It’s a booming industry, and we’re trying to be at the forefront of it,” Matsuda says. “We are a one-stop source for all the hemp producers’ needs, from tractors and sprayers to GPS equipment, tillage equipment and everything else they need.”
To keep up with demand, 4Rivers Equipment partnered with an Italian company called C&M (Checchi & Magli) in 2018 to provide hemp-transplanting equipment. With this type of partnership and more than 92 years in the industry, 4Rivers Equipment has always worked to provide customers with the latest equipment for the changing landscape. As Colorado’s agriculture industry continues down the path of hemp exploration, 4Rivers will continue to be by farmers’ sides.