Published 11:47 am Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Chris Weaver is a new kind of pioneer in the state of Alabama. As a hemp farmer, weaver is among the first wave of farmers in the state trying their hand at producing the crop.

Since applications to grow hemp were made available by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries were made available at the beginning of this year, a slew of processors, farmers and universities have begun to experiment with the crop.

As co-founder, part owner and operational manager of The Wemp Company, LLC, Weaver is excited to see what opportunities the plant will create for himself and other farmers in the state.

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“This is the first year of Alabama’s hemp program so there are a lot of unknowns about growing it here,” said Weaver.

According to Weaver, some of the challenges farmers will face in growing the new crop include figuring out which variety will grow best, learning what pests might attack the plant and discovering what cultivating methods, such as spacing, will be the most fruitful for the crop.
Despite the lengthy list of hurdles in his way, Weaver is more than ready for the challenge.

“I look forward to all of it,” he said. “It’s going to be a rigorous process but when we’re done, we’ll be able to help other farmers by having great data to help them have a successful crop in the future.”

Once harvested, hemp crops can be used for a number of useful products.

Common uses for the plant include rope, textiles and cannabidiol (CBD) oil which can be used to treat a variety of ailments including arthritis, migraines, joint pain and even reduce the frequency of seizures.

Weaver is enthusiastic about the way that the use of hemp can improve people’s lives.

“It’s exciting to know that we will be creating products that will positively affect people’s quality of life,” said Weaver.

As operational manager of The Wemp Company, Chris spends many of his days overseeing the day to day operations of the company as well as scheduling out tasks and following up with business contacts through the day for continuing to build the business.

In addition to his duties as at The Wemp Company, Weaver also finds time to volunteer with The Black Belt Benefit Group (BBG) here in Selma. Being a source of positivity is a motivating force in Weaver’s life

“I like to see people happy and I really enjoy being able to facilitate that,” said Weaver. “That is what drives me every day, I want to make a positive impact in the community.”

Weaver attributes his positive attitude to the influence of his grandfather, Hosea Weaver.

“He was my best friend and taught me about the ups and downs of life and was the one person who always believed in me,” said Weaver.

Weaver cited his grandfather as “the all-American success story”.

Hosea Weaver had to drop out of school at the age of 12 after his father’s sudden death and take care of his mother and three sisters.

“He went on to have a big family and built one of the largest construction companies in Alabama,” said Weaver. “He measured his success by the success of others around him, His greatest quality was his genuine caring heart for people. He never forgot where he came from and he always lifted everyone around him up.”