For Farmers

1 out of 2 organic farms in Colorado are at risk of loss in coming years, due to economic factors that make the business of organic farming nonviable. The new and growing market of hemp, grown for its CBD content, has the power to change all that. Through a vertically-integrated model that takes the hemp/CBD product “from farm to table,” owned by the farmers in a cooperative framework, farmers have the potential to add an additional $100,000 to annual incomes, which is the “magic number.” The magic would be enough revenue to entice the farmer’s kids to take over the farm or for a new young farmer to be able to take over a farm and pay the mortgage.

 Through this strategy, we have the potential to offer farmers enough additional income to actually have a succession plan that keeps farmland in production into the future. This co-op is carefully designed—and has been iterated at a micro (“demonstration”) scale for the past several years by Fat Pig Society—to overcome current and ongoing real gaps in the marketplace.

2020 Season OFFER for Farmers

Protecting Your Hemp Intellectual Property

The non-profit organization Agricultural Genomics Foundation (AGF) and The Fat Pig Society (FPS) want to invite you to participate in a third party neutral project that will protect  hemp farmers by accelerating the identification, validation and listing of clonally maintained CBD hemp plants. We intend to help identify hemp plants with the highest production and the lowest risk, while ensuring that your  Intellectual property rights and royalties are protected.

Intellectual property (IP)  protection for hemp varieties is rapidly becoming the new hot spot in the hemp green rush. At the same time, hemp regulators are cracking down on the sales of seeds and clones that put farmers at risk. Regulations that mandate hemp to be a certified variety as defined by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (“AOSCA”) has already passed in many States.

The Hemp industry needs a third party neutral Certification organization, like Underwriters Laboratory Certification for electrical appliances. An unsafe appliance can kill a consumer, and high THC hemp can kill a farm.

We established a simple two-step process in order to participate:

1.  Sign the attached  “Material transfer agreement” and pay the $175 fee per plant ($165 for >100; $150 for >1000). Please make checks payable to Fat Pig Society with Genomic Selection on the Memo line.

2. Assure seed delivery by May 15th, 2020 or clone delivery by June 1st, 2020 to the following address: Fat Pig Society  317 North Hollywood Street Fort Collins, CO 80521. All clones must be pest free.

Our team will cultivate your plants in the Certified Organic container test field, and with the Organic Integrated Pest Management developed by the Colorado State University (CSU).  Thus, all of the plants in our program will be USDA certified organic.

You will receive two (2) copies of each plant that will be propagated and clonally maintained in vegetative state that will serve as your future foundation plant stock. You will also receive a copy of the chemotype testing results, and a copy of all of the phenotypic (physical) traits we measured. This data contains all the necessary information to enter the Colorado Certified Hemp trials,  file for a listing with the  Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and to file for Intellectual Property at USDA/PVP or USPTO.

Besides being part of the first-of its kind program in the entire country, other benefits of participating in this project include:

 -We can identify  if you were cross pollinated with marijuana, kill them, and return the low risk plants for breeders to restart your seed line (or clones).

– Our project will help you shorten the path to seed stabilization by growing a seed line and allow you to pick out those closest to the  breeding target for the next breeding cycle.

– You can decide if you want to proceed to file IP or AOSCA, and we will provide the application materials, and all of the necessary information about filing fees estimates, and legal costs. Please Note that we can not fill out applications for plants that test >0.3% THC.

– the data collected about your plants will be part of scientific studies conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder in collaboration with AGF.

– If we identify a patentable clone variety, you can proceed to full commercialization, Phase 2, of this program. All participants will receive the estimated costs (including the estimated legal fees) and all forms for this next step. Phase 2 includes: Filing for Intellectual property protection- IP; filing for variety listing with AOSCA; entry in the Colorado Certified Hemp  program; plant genome sequencing with posterior analysis by scientists from CU Boulder; patent defense through gene sequencing to identify unauthorized use; and field trials to identify secondary factors like cannabinoid yield per acre, insect and disease resistance, terpenes, etc.

Meet the Team:

Terry Moran- Project Director- Created and regulated the Nation’s first Certified Hemp Seed Program at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and has an extensive background in plant breeding, IP, and listing with AOSCA.

Dr. Daniela Vergara, PhD- President and founder of the Agricultural Genomics Foundation, a 501(C)3 non profit. Daniela is one of the world leaders in Cannabis genomics.

Barbara Campbell-  One of the top plant patent attorneys in the USA, that will guide breeders and growers to the  best path to IP, including options such as ‘Plant Variety Protection’ through the USDA and ‘Utility or Plant patents’ at the US Patent Office

Bill Althouse- Founder at Fat Pig Society and a  Certified organic hemp Farmer.  Bill has been selecting for the highest quality hemp CBD clones for over 13 years, has screened over 10,000 individual plants, and has built the test platform and protocols to screen CBD plants at scale.

Iginia Boccalandro- Co-founder of Fat Pig Society and hemp farmer for 8 years. With her extremely approachable personality and knowledge of farming in both the US and South America, Iginia will be in charge of the public relations and administrative work.

Contact- Iginia – 970-325-6556  Email [email protected]

THE MARKET

Timeline to legitimacy:

USDA issued guidelines last month. The state of Colorado will soon submit its custom state regulatory plan (which the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Program [CHAMP] committee, which Fat Pig has served on, has worked to develop). Once guidelines are approved, Colorado becomes an approved state of origin and all the benefits of the Farm Bill become available. We estimate that beginning in fall of 2020  all hemp dealings will become legitimate. E.g. shipping across state lines, obtaining loans, etc.

 CBD market globally continues to grow. Existing CBD market is well over $1B. The global market is estimated to become $22B by 2022. It is the highest value per acre crop in the U.S. by far. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cbd-market-expected-to-reach-22-billion-2019-05-23 Market info is available to show extent of market projections. https://panxchange.com/october-2019-hemp-market-update/

 Sourcing is becoming increasingly important to consumers, and Colorado is known to have the most robust hemp development so far. Hemp from Colorado is going to be of increasing market value. Consumer Reports’ article “How to Shop for CBD” (dated 9/27/18) says, “…For CBD products from hemp, check labels to see whether they say where it was grown, and look especially for those from Colorado.” https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/how-to-shop-for-cbd/

 We are confident FDA regulations once released will classify hemp as an agricultural product and that the CBD contents will not be distinctly regulated.

 The organic CBD market is poised for enormous growth. We think the market will go predominately organic. Organic will dominate as consumers learn that hemp is a bioremediator that pulls toxins out of the soil. The first hemp law in Colorado in modern times was passed to investigate hemp’s phytoremediation potential. https://www.votehemp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CO_HB12-1099_2012_enr.pdf The results of that research found, indeed, hemp draws toxins up from the soil extremely well. The implication is grave: non-organic CBD may be a real risk to consumers, as the toxins mixed with the CBD compromise its use as a medicine. As consumers become more aware of these risks, the market for organic CBD will increase. We will promote this information to consumers and to the general public so they become aware of the importance of preferring organic CBD. If it is not Organic, don’t eat it.

THE GAP

Farmers, as usual, are getting ripped off. Farmers are now only offered less than $10 per pound for hemp flowers when the finished product is getting over $2,000 retail from that pound. That is a 1:200 differential—something many farmers will be familiar with, with all the value added going to brokers, middlemen and retailers. There is immense economic opportunity in farmers having direct ownership of the extraction, packaging, distribution, and marketing of CBD.

 Most hemp won’t be sold this year, due to bad seed, bad actors, and bad practices. Regulation through the Farm Bill will protect farmers, and we are already ahead of the curve with that through our collaborations with CHAMP and CSU (see: Appendix A).

 Extraction facilities are blocking farmers from capturing any value added. Due to oversupply, all extractors are low-balling farmers. They have stopped offering tolling and instead are saying “Here’s $5 to10 per pound, take it or leave it.”

ECONOMIC COOPERATION

The market is ripe for a vertically integrated approach. Unlike conventional agricultural products that need to get into grocery stores, CBD offers a unique opportunity to bypass wholesalers, brokers and retailers by selling direct to consumers at full retail online. Most CBD sales today take place online, anyway. Furthermore, CBD products are nonperishable and shelf stable, enabling long-term storage to convert a seasonal crop into year round easy to ship sales. 

 Farmers need to cooperate to protect their own interests. The hemp market is dominated by bad actors and farmers are getting screwed. All organizations in hemp started with suitcases of cash since banks won’t touch it, which attracts bad actors. This year, it is estimated that over half of farms won’t be able to sell their crop at all. Most clones and seeds out there are unregulated and bad, either poor performing or go “hot”. 

 FPS is working with CHAMP, CDA, and CSU to establish Certified varieties of hemp. Bill was chair of the Certified Clone Committee of CHAMP and certification of safe varieties was the number one issue. For more on this, see Appendix A.

 Not only can we work to protect the integrity of our inputs and quality of the crops we grow through certification, we can work together to capture a unique niche in the market in ways that generate 10x revenues for farmers, through cooperatively owned vertical integration. 

About FPS

Fat Pig Society (FPS) is a worker cooperative that focuses on research and development in the organic hemp industry to help small, struggling, organic farms for future generations, by leveraging cooperatively-owned economic opportunity.

 Our unique vertically integrated hemp-to-CBD model, which we hope to become a multimillion dollar, farmer-owned cooperative enterprise, has the mission to “connect the economic health of family farms to the health of everybody else.” Our dream is to generate the magic number of $100K in additional revenue for every Organic Farm in Colorado.

 For more about FPS, refer to document entitled “FPS Backstory.”

Limitations

Farmer Will of WiMo Farms is an example of a farmer who, through our vertically integrated model, received 10x the market value for his organic hemp crop last year. However, scaling to “20 Wills” is a different beast. We know that, and we will do our best to work together on resolving those capacity constraints.

CURRENT TRENDS

There may be a glut of CBD into the market. CBD prices are dropping (particularly wholesale; retail hasn’t moved that much). We would overcome this by having the best-tasting, best-reviewed, best-quality, Certified Organic product available while getting full retail prices online.

 Nevertheless, the FPS model is well-covered. We have been getting eight cents per milligram from most of our retail customers. This year, based on market changes, we may drop that to 6 cents and continue to lower price to be competitive on price as well as quality. Our “$100K for 2 acres of hemp” figure, however, is based on a penny a milligram.. Since we have a vertically integrated model, we could go all the way to a penny a milligram and still be delivering $50K an acre to farmers. The co-op is crash proof heading into a for certain price crash.

Fat Pig Society-  NO MORE FARMER RIP OFF

We believe strongly in cooperative practices and the cooperative business model. “Farmers gets a penny, store gets a dollar” is the reason farms are hurting economically. We believe in cutting out middlemen to directly empower farmers through economic cooperation and vertical integration. Capturing all the value added of our products is the key to preserving farm land and farm businesses for multiple generations. We want to do this in order to save family farms, not get rich for its own sake. It is unjust for non-farmers to take 99% of the value created by the hard work of farmers..

FPS is making a special offer available (see below) but we are targeting ONLY small certified organic growers in Colorado using sustainable regenerative methods to receive this offer. That is because we are ethically driven to move forward in cooperation with those who share our values and support our mission.

SUPPORT  INCUBATING A COLORADO ORGANIC FARMERS CO-OP

THE NEED FOR A CBD PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE

We intend to accomplish our mission through eventually offering our existing “fat pig” model (a demonstration of the economic potential possible through vertical integration) to become owned and controlled by a future independent producer-owned cooperative that we refer to as “Colorado Organic Farmers” or “COF.” Through our best efforts, COF would gradually be incubated from this initial group of farmers coming together around this unique offer.

By expanding our vertically integrated operations for up to 20 farmers in 2020, we are “seeding” COF. As COF is just barely in its exploration phase, it has not yet undertaken any independent fundraising activities whatsoever. Rather, FPS is pleased to offer its surplus financial resources (generated by our “fat pig” model) to help offset early-stage costs to COF’s development. 

FPS’ full scope of support to a future COF: 

  1. Certified Organic Clones that will not break .3% THC at no upfront cost (see below)
  2. I.P., business plan and business model contents, and support with market and related research*
  3. Education, training and information about growing organic hemp for CBD
  4. Various helpful connections with ethical/organic hemp industry resources
  5. Outside technical assistance co-op development services (until USDA allows the Cooperative Development Center at Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to use Federally Funded Staff to be the third party neutral overseer of COF formation) 

“The fat pig”: On less than two acres of farmland near downtown Fort Collins, FPS is generating well over a million dollars of CBD products through our value-added, farmer-owned production model. For over a decade, FPS has leveraged the expert knowledge of Bill, our head farmer, to design this model as a “fat pig” that demonstrates to other farmers the potential of value added capture. All this Intellectual Property will become available to COF.

We offer a promise of total transparency: any farmer-member who might like to “peer under the hood” of our demo/”fat pig” model is more than welcome to do so at any point in this process. We have a guest room for visitors and serve a fantastic lunch every day for our volunteers.

THE OFFER

FPS is offering up to 5,000 clones per farmer (enough for roughly two acres) for no upfront cost and no risk to farmers interested in testing out the crop. 

The terms of the offer stem from our mutual aid philosophy, “just take what you need” and it’ll come back around. In other words, FPS is offering the value of crop insurance: if the crop doesn’t work out for whatever reason, you owe us nothing.

FPS is prepared to guarantee that any clones we are offering will not go “hot.” We are proud to report that we have ready-to-go  4 varieties that reliably grow until October without breaking 0.3% THC, and which produce a high percentage of CBD (we have tested it full term to be sure). This kind of guarantee is simply unheard of in the general marketplace.

Fat Pig Society would guarantee buy back of successful crop at 10x commodity value (market dependent come harvest 2020, but the goal based on 2019 is $100 per pound). We will process it for you and pay out as product is sold through retail. 

Why two acres? We believe two acres is the right amount to get you earning that “Magic Number” of $100K income, yet  small enough to fit into existing regenerative rotations and to spread the benefit to as many farmers as possible. Such high incomes will benefit each farmer while also providing capital that can be leveraged toward forming a cooperative extraction facility and marketing business that is ‘to-scale’ for the market, and owned and controlled by the farmers directly. This is modeled after corn farmers in the midwest, who leveraged their annual production and the gov’t ethanol fuel credits to raise enough money to build a $25M ethanol plant that they own and control through a co-op.

If you are an organic grain farmer with larger acreage, contact us and we may be able to help connect you with some Organic Hemp grain planting seed resources and buyers for the grain. Hemp grain and CBD cannot be grown on the same farm as grain would heavily seed the CBD plants.

Ethic of offering the clones upfront

 Bill Althouse believes in the ethic of his 15 year experience at the Santa Fe farmers market. There was a casual practice among the farmers of mutual aid. A farmer would come by Bill’s booth needing a giant flower bouquet for their loved one. “Take what you want,” Bill would say. Then later, when Bill would go by their table, the farmer would respond, “Take what you want.” The clones offer is essentially, “here you go.” It shows confidence and trust in other organic farmers as the beginning of a fruitful, reciprocal relationship.

THE AGREEMENT

FPS is willing to offer this deal, which is several ways far superior to anything out there in the market, because of our ethical mission to save organic small farms through cooperative economics. 

Therefore, we are only willing to bring on farmers who fit the following characteristics:

QUALIFYING FACTORS:

We have the full intention of COF being an independent producer-owned cooperative in the near future. Once our first 10 to 20 farmers have the target incomes we’re discussing, that  revenue is to be leveraged to build, own and operated the complete supply chain at a much higher scale than FPS currently operates, allowing many more farmers to join.

FPS respects and welcomes your input and invites you to help us craft this as we go, but decision making this year would remain with FPS. Next year, when you’re making enough revenue to justify their own extraction plant and more, COF would have the power and ability to bring this model to scale through an independent democratic cooperative organization.

About The Fat Pig Society

Our mission

We are devoted to saving small organic farm businesses through economic innovation and cooperation.

We wish to tie the economic health and longevity of farms and farmers to the health and wellness of people everywhere.

To be an all volunteer organization that focused on providing Free CBD instead of selling it.

Our goal

Get an additional $100,00 per year income for as many small organic farmers as we can. 

Why $100K? That is “the magic number” that an agricultural economist at

CSU believes has the power to save family farms. It is the kind of money that can attract young people to stay in farming, holding on to organic agricultural land for future generations that would otherwise be lost to non-farmers in the next five to ten years.

Our strategy

Create a producer-owned vertically integrated co-op of hemp-for-CBD farmers, serving Colorado small organic farmers. Each grows 2 acres of hemp for CBD and, through a cooperatively owned vertically integrated model, is able to earn additional revenue of up to or beyond $100K.

Why vertically integrated? The vertically integrated model would include: clones, growing, preserving, extracting, and retailing operations. CBD, which is mostly sold online, represents a $22B industry in the next few years. This would allow farmers a direct relationship with consumers (in the food hub, “farm to table” model), benefitting both. 

Why a cooperative? Only a farmer can protect a farmer from getting exploited. Through the cooperative model, farmers can secure this level of income and benefit for themselves. We are kickstarting this project by allowing up to 20 farmers to get started growing with Fat Pig Society in 2020. The revenues from 2020’s harvest (goal of $100K per farmer, $2Million in retail sales) would allow for the seed capital to create their own independent cooperative in 2021.

Our tactic: “the fat pig” and “Free Hemp”

The Founders, Bill Althouse, Iginia Boccalandro, John Long, Yamie Lucero and 100s of volunteer community members, through Fat Pig Society, have helped create a two acre, $1Million revenue micro “demonstration” operation of the proposed coop model in Fort Collins.  

Why  fat pig? Because when our founders reached out to small organic farmers offering the same opportunity six years ago, nobody was willing to come to the table, out of fear over hemp’s regulation. We knew we could radically help farmers, but they did not want us to help. Bill then told a story to our founders about trying to help a pig farmer in Micronesia who did not want help. After a 6 month long process of doing all the pig farmers work, which was hunting and gathering pig food from the jungle by hand, he finally got the farmers trust and permission to change the feed for one pig. This pig was kept separate and near another pig from the same litter using the farmers original feed. Six months later the farmers pig was still under 75lbs but Bill’s was over 250lbs. One day the farmer, comparing the two pigs, said “Wow, that’s a fat pig”. Now, finally, he was excited to have  help. Our founders decided we also needed a very Fat Pig to prove to farmers the potential of CBD hemp. The Fat Pig Society was born

The founders of Fat Pig are most proud that the development of our Fat Pig model was done without capital and was focused on giving away free CBD to everyone who helped us. All labor, including our founders, was volunteer, making human capital the major source of financing. Everyone who helped us got all their CBD for free and the high prices of CBD from other sources brought 100s of volunteers to our mission. The Free Hemp brought us other supporters like our bookkeeper and mechanics to keep us moving. Then people who were not close enough to help us directly started asking how they can get free CBD. We then developed our Agents  of Change network that gave free CBD to those who help us distribute around the country.  Now those people who sell our CBD to get theirs free are sending close to $1million per year to us. As unbelievable as it sounds, we created a very Fat Pig in a matriarchal approach that says “who gives away more wins”, instead of the patriarchal “who gets more wins.” We proved that basing an enterprise on a Gifting model is actually possible. We also give away a lot of CBD to anyone who is unable to help us and cannot afford it.

Our motto

“How does this serve small organic farmers?”

Our values

Our people

Bill Althouse

Bill Althouse is one of the nation’s most highly experienced hemp farmers. He was one of the very first CBD producers in the world, has developed new high CBD varieties, and pioneered some of the first USDA organic certifications for hemp propagation, cultivation,  extraction, and handling. Bill is an innovator with an energy engineering background who loves to tackle technical challenges on the Fat Pig farm.  He has developed leading-edge organic hemp farming methods and original, proprietary, and clean CBD extraction methods. 

However, Bill only makes his intellectual property available to small organic farmers and to cooperatives. Bill could have “cashed in” on his technical acumen through traditional means long ago, but making money and getting rich doesn’t interest him. Lore has it that he’s chased more than a few venture capitalists with “suitcases of money” off of his farm, while openly vowing that they will lose their investment when farmers come together to crash the price of CBD through a vertically-integrated cooperative. Bill carries strong values in his bones, from many years of living among the matriarchal cultures of Micronesia where he, joining with a few other men, used a spear gun and a machete to feed 100 people every day. Bill also sold flowers and strawberries at the Santa fe Farmer’s Market for 15 years with farmers who are the most sustainable in the USA. The local Hispanic farmers have been farming the same family farms for over 400yrs ( ditches dug before the arrival of the Pilgrims) and the Native American farmers for 1000s of yrs.

Bill is committed to bringing economic value to the people and lifestyles he values most: organic farmers. Bill’s calling card question is, “How does this serve the farmer?” He is proud member of the R&D committee of the Governor’s CHAMP (Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Program) initiative, where he worked closely with CSU, CDA and other stakeholders to develop a process for hemp which will protect farmers through certifying varieties to produce well and not go “hot”.. For years, Bill is forever “knocking on doors” on behalf of the burgeoning market for organic hemp farmers, keeping his finger on the pulse of market conditions and industry practices by making contacts and conducting research daily. 

Iginia Boccalandro

Iginia graduated from the University of New York (SUNY) with a Bachelor of Science degree and has had a private Rolfing practice in Structural Integration since 1988. She has worked in Vermont, Utah, California, Texas, Venezuela, and New Mexico prior to moving to Colorado.  Iginia is a two-time Olympian in the sport of luge and has helped other athletes succeed in their careers and lives with mentorship, coaching and alternative health care.

She created the Carbon Economy Series (CES), an educational 501 ( C ) 3, in 2011. CES teaches sustainable principles and practices in Colleges in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. As a Certified Permaculture Designer she is involved in many sustainable projects and initiatives in the Americas. She has studied with Dr. Paulo Lugari, Toby Hemenway and Dr Elaine Ingham. She comes from a ranching family in Venezuela and has been an agricultural producer selling at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market two specialized crops: Mara de Bois French strawberries and giant dahlias with Althouse farm.

Iginia moved to Colorado in 2015 to be a hemp farmer and is a founding member of the Fat Pig Society, a worker cooperative dedicated to pioneering alternative crops for organic farmers. Their mission is to crate greater income for farmers while building soil, increasing bio diversity and rewarding organic farmers for their commitment to a more sustainable planet.  The coop has grown hemp and is producing organic CBD infused coconut oil for the lowest price to the largest amount of people possible. 

Iginia graduated from the University of New York (SUNY) with a Bachelor of Science degree and has had a private Rolfing practice in Structural Integration since 1988. She has worked in Vermont, Utah, California, Texas, Venezuela, and New Mexico prior to moving to Colorado.  Iginia is a two-time Olympian in the sport of luge and has helped other athletes succeed in their careers and lives with mentorship, coaching and alternative health care.

She created the Carbon Economy Series (CES), an educational 501 ( C ) 3, in 2011. CES teaches sustainable principles and practices in Colleges in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. As a Certified Permaculture Designer she is involved in many sustainable projects and initiatives in the Americas. She has studied with Dr. Paulo Lugari, Toby Hemenway and Dr Elaine Ingham. She comes from a ranching family in Venezuela and has been an agricultural producer selling at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market two specialized crops: Mara de Bois French strawberries and giant dahlias with Althouse farm.

Iginia moved to Colorado in 2015 to be a hemp farmer and is a founding member of the Fat Pig Society, a worker cooperative dedicated to pioneering alternative crops for organic farmers. Their mission is to crate greater income for farmers while building soil, increasing bio diversity and rewarding organic farmers for their commitment to a more sustainable planet.  The coop has grown hemp and is producing organic CBD infused coconut oil for the lowest price to the largest amount of people possible.

John Long: In Memorium

John was loved by many and inspired all who knew him. He dedicated his life to creating a more just and sustainable world. He gave boundless energy to building community, supporting the Northern Colorado environmental movement, and encouraging a world filled with music, laughter and love. John leaves a long legacy of endeavors that he helped to create including, but not limited to, Blue Sun Biodiesel, Zero Hero, the Sustainable Living Fair, Fat Pig Society/Colorado Hemp Farmers Cooperative, Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Positive Legacy, the Atmosphere Conservancy, and Biodiesel for Bands. John was also an avid golfer (with his lowest handicap of 2!), team bowler (3 Hole Enthusiasts!), snowboarder (the higher the mountain the better!), and overall adventurer. He loved to travel, hike, river run, see live music, and instigate a good time!. 

Our backstory

Fat Pig Society was founded by Bill Althouse, Iginia Boccalandro, and others over seven years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Iginia first met Bill at the farmers’ market, where she encountered his legendary mara du bois strawberries. She noticed that Bill, who had been hunched over and in pain when she first met him, had begun to straighten up, stand up, and show more vitality. She asked him what his secret was, and he turned her on to CBD. Iginia immediately saw results from using CBD on her chronic pain issues from being a competitive athlete for many years. When she saw firsthand Bill’s ethics, his capacity to work hard and his brilliance as a farmer, she knew she had to help him turn his hemp-to-CBD efforts into a reality. After a devastating hail storm destroyed all of their crops in May 2014, the team decided to move to Fort Collins for Colorado’s favorable conditions for growing hemp. 

$100K incomes + organic hemp for CBD: a“fat pig” is born – https://www.fatpigsociety.com/100k-incomes-organic-hemp-for-cbd-afat-pig-is-born/

In 2014 John Long and Bill Althouse independently reached out by phone and email to all 100+ Colorado certified organic farmers about the opportunity to grow hemp, using the USDA Organic Integrity online database. They met with resistance. Nobody was willing to try growing hemp due fears about hemp being illegal.

Bill is a long time hemp grower and expert farmer, and an engineering visionary. He decided he would produce, with the help of his team, a completely vertically integrated, on-site value added production model, from Bill’s custom genetics to hand-crafted organic farming methods, to extracting the CBD from the hemp, to concentrating the CBD and bottling it with coconut oil to produce a line of value-added products. 

Our philosophy has been to build a “fat pig” (a vertically integrated model of CBD production with tailor-made genetics, capable of generating $50,000 per acre of hemp crop), that can directly demonstrate how the model can work on behalf of farmers. 

The “fat pig” vertically integrated model in a nutshell

General Operations and Procedures:

  1. Identify the best CBD plants on site through extensive genomic selection with proven performance through third party labs.
  2. Harvest, and handle hemp on site with methods that preserve the highest freshness. 
  3. Process using ethanol-based extraction method to concentrate CBD.
  4. Infuse the CBD into coconut oil and jar it, using a local commercial commissary kitchen.
  5. Sell the CBD-infused oil in jars (along with a growing line of value added products like lotions, bath bombs, and dog treats) using a community-driven direct sales model.

The business model

FPS is exclusively interested in organic farming, and therefore, in targeting their ultra-organic, “clean” “whole plant” product to the LOHAS market (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). By maintaining rigorous organic standards for the crop as well as the finished product, FPS boasts the highest quality for taste in the industry. The LOHAS sector also highly values the social impacts of their purchases and when given a choice between purchasing from farmers who need the money versus a investor group that doesn’t, LOHAS will always support the farmer. The coop model shows the direct positive impact of creating economic sustainability for family farms. Each coop member should have a current blog on the coop website so consumers can see the beneficial impacts of their purchases.

Without any marketing or sales relationships outside of word-of-mouth, FPS approached $1,000,000 in revenue in 2019. 

With better organization, this figure could substantially grow. This is the very opportunity FPS hopes COF will “take over” by bringing it to its full scale and potential.

FPS is in the process of shifting to a nonprofit organization to better pursue their mission and fundraise for their projects with the help of grants. (FPS initially formed as a worker-owned cooperative from a sense of deep appreciation of the co-op model, but has since become aware why a nonprofit model is a better fit for their goals.) 

FPS is anticipating expanding its own extraction and retail operations to serve the growth in farmers this year

CBD & “holistic health and wellness”

Bill and Iginia have each been using CBD for a decade to treat chronic pain problems. Our co-founding member John Long, who passed away from cancer in 2017, used high doses of CBD to treat his pain and related conditions.

FPS is proud to report we have given away thousands of jars of CBD–about 30% of our total production, as a norm. We know countless individuals have benefitted and have become loyal customers through this method.

We believe CBD is an important medicine, capable of treating numerous conditions and dramatically improving people’s qualities of life. We believe this medicine should be accessible to people, which is why we oppose extractive, exploitative profit-driven models that “sell out” farmers and consumers. We want to see farmers and consumers collaborating for the benefit of all. Through a cooperatively owned “farm to table” model, we can deliver the best quality CBD to market at the best price to customers, all while investing in our small organic farms for many generations to come.

In Conclusion

We love to talk to any organic farmer about what we’re doing. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out and/or visit us at our farm. Our doors are always open to organic farmers.

Appendix A- The Path to Certified Hemp Varieties

This year, across the U.S., most farmers who try help will get burned. Half of what was planted this year is likely to not be harvested. This is due to lots of bad actors in that space, and few protections for farmers. Indeed: many hemp operations in the U.S. now have been funded through illegitimate means (“briefcases full of cash,” which Bill himself has been approached with numerous times by unscrupulous individuals). And there is a lot of people looking to take advantage of unsavvy hemp farmers with bad seeds and bad inputs.

The industry standard is Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies. As Bill reports, “if it’s not registered with them, it’s not a variety a farmer can safely use.” Because no hemp varieties are certified through AOSCA, “there are zero varieties” currently available to farmers. 

When Bill Althouse joined Colorado governor Jared Polis’ CHAMP initiative, he advised, “Our goal should be getting Colorado farmers the cleanest plant stock with the lowest risk and the highest production in the shortest time frame at the lowest cost.” The CHAMP project, along with Colorado State University (CSU), are poised to create the first certified varieties. 

The goal is to get the certified varieties that farmers can choose from. Having that third-party neutral screen guarantees which varieties to farmers won’t “go hot” (exceed 0.3% THC), causing the farmer to have to destroy his or her crop. Besides protecting farmers from bad seeds, AOSCA certification will lead to many future benefits to farmers, such as learning which kind of soil does best for which varieties, etc.

According to Bill Althouse, until this fall (when the farm bill is supposed to begin being enforced), the only way you can do I.P. registration on a hemp clone is to go through a plant patent office, who weren’t willing to touch hemp. Now, it’s shifting. Asexually (clonal) is now allowed plant variety protection for the first time. Guidelines for clones’ plant variety protection at USDA, were released Jan 6 2020. Fat Pig Society is preparing to submit its clones for plant variety protection. This is the kind of work called for “in the process of making hemp a legal plant.”

Fat Pig Society is committed to offering farmers safe (soon-to-be certified) varieties of hemp. This year FPS is offering varieties that they assure won’t “go hot” even if grown out until October (offered on a limited basis to those willing to partner with them). This kind of offer is unprecedented in today’s current market.

Appendix B- Expansion of production

In order to fulfill on its promises to provide up to 20 small organic hemp farmers with $100K incomes from 2020’s harvest, Fat Pig Society is taking on the responsibility of attempting to increase its capacity to process that volume of material using their existing system. 2020’s proposed increase represents 10-20x increase over FPS’ 2019 volumes.

FPS’ Operations (Scaling)

FPS is working on techniques to increase their on-site extraction output by 300-400% ( and is still hoping to double that again this year), using ethanol recapture methods and other proprietary innovations. For more information, speak to Bill Althouse.

Commercial Extraction Facilities (Market)

Current state of the extraction market: In the U.S., recently, extractors have slammed the door on farmers trying to contract processing to get some value added. Extractors who had offered tolling arrangements stopped offering that and switched to a flat price because “there’s so much material on the market.” Now extractors are saying “We’ll give you $5 per pound. Take it or leave it.” Bill is estimating that three-quarters of the current U.S. hemp harvest will not sell. There’s a bottleneck right now, and any farmer who thought they might get value-added prices for their product by making their own, is shut out.

Access to all the value added is dependent on the cooperative owning and operating extraction

Farmers this year should understand and appreciate the risks related to Fat Pig Society’s capacity to scale extraction operations.

Appendix C- Expansion of Sales

In order to fulfill on its promises to provide up to 20 small organic hemp farmers with $100K incomes from 2020’s harvest, Fat Pig Society is taking on the responsibility of attempting to increase its retail and bulk sales to match this growth. 2020’s proposed increase represents 10-20x increase over FPS’ 2019 sales volumes and revenue.

Bill shared his ideas about how FPS would increase its capacity this year.

Bill envisions a strategy combining: 1) an expansion and upgrade to the Agents of Change (AOC) sales model, 2) engaging ethical LOHAS “influencers” on social media to promote Fat Pig Society’s product line, 3) gaining “earned media” from news and magazine outlets, 4) crowdfunding.

Fat Pig Society has conducted all its sales thus far from word of mouth, through bulk buyers and retail direct consumer-to-consumer sales (AOCs) without an online presence.

The AOC model could be built up and reorganized. Fat Pig Society intends to develop a website for its product in early 2020.

Social media  “influencers” whose values are ethics and integrity, and who promote LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) sector products, cannot just be “bought” by any brand. The brands they promote have to earn the influencer’s approval through demonstrating their ethical practices and identity. Fat Pig Society would approach such influencers to promote their product.

The best quality and greatest priced organic CBD is the product, but instead of marketing a product, the focus will be recruiting supporters to our mission  of “helping save family farms” by their purchase. Bill envisions a crowdfunding campaign offering presales of jars (similar to a CSA model, where a farm’s products are presold direct to customers).

This project is “in a good position to get earned media” with its dedicated mission of saving family farms through CBD. 

These methods have the potential to skyrocket clientele, but only if FPS has internal systems and capacity to deliver on that many sales effectively, without lost or dissatisfied customers. However, this represents a significant increase and improvement to FPS’ sales capacities this year, and farmers should know the risks before getting involved.

Appendix D- Why FPS Wants a Producers COOP

According to USDA statistics, the average age of farmers continues to rise, while farm incomes continue to decline. In Colorado and across the U.S., the phrase “succession crisis” indicates that many farms are at risk of being lost forever unless there is some way to make farms more profitable. Organic farms face additional economic barriers and are thus often further marginalized.

Fat Pig Society is a worker-owned co-op and “research and development think tank,” incubating innovative and resilient farm business models, with a mission of preserving certified organic farms for future generations. They were one of the first CBD producers in the U.S., and one of the first hemp registrants in Colorado. 

Hemp’s recent legalization as an agricultural product under the 2018 USDA Farm Bill opens unprecedented doors to economic opportunity for farmers. CBD sales are currently a $1B global market, with some projections showing as high as $22B globally by 2022. A vertically integrated co-op model of CBD production allows for a “farm to table” product that could pay farmers up to 20 times more per acre (than they can currently make by selling hemp as an agricultural commodity). CBD extracted from hemp is a unique agricultural product in that it is nonperishable and can be sold directly online, making vertical integration a unique advantage. Additionally, “organic and whole plant” CBD products will command a premium in the marketplace. 

Anticipating this opportunity, FPS has innovated an on-farm, vertically integrated model for a “farm to table” organic CBD product, generating over $1M per acre in sales on a 2-acre farm, by cloning, growing, curing, extracting, infusing, bottling and packaging finished CBD product. This pilot was developed with the intent to transfer the model to a statewide farmers’ cooperative to bring it to scale (pursuant to FPS’ mission), as soon as the farm bill passed. FPS’ R&D efforts indicate an unprecedented economic opportunity for cooperation among Colorado’s 130+ certified organic farmers, enabling them to make organic farming economic sustainable, with the potential for this to spread and serve many more farmers across the nation.

Along with a handful of other pilot growers across Northern Colorado, they have requested support from the Cooperative Development Center at Rocky Mountain Farmers Union for technical assistance resources to form an organic growers co-op, called Colorado Organic Farmers. Participation of the Cooperative Development Center is critical to ensure third party neutral  coop formation that is democratic and equitable. Specifically, there is an urgent need to publicize this opportunity to potential farmer-members, organize informational meetings, and take steps towards incorporation. As a co-op of growers, the CBD market and vertically integrated strategy, as well as other revenue streams for hemp and hemp waste products will be explored according to the interests expressed by the member-owners, democratically. 

Protecting Your Hemp Intellectual Property

The non-profit organization Agricultural Genomics Foundation (AGF) and The Fat Pig Society (FPS) want to invite you to participate in a third party neutral project that will protect  hemp farmers by accelerating the identification, validation and listing of clonally maintained CBD hemp plants. We intend to help identify hemp plants with the highest production and the lowest risk, while ensuring that your  Intellectual property rights and royalties are protected.

Intellectual property (IP)  protection for hemp varieties is rapidly becoming the new hot spot in the hemp green rush. At the same time, hemp regulators are cracking down on the sales of seeds and clones that put farmers at risk. Regulations that mandate hemp to be a certified variety as defined by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (“AOSCA”) has already passed in many States. 

The Hemp industry needs a third party neutral Certification organization, like Underwriters Laboratory Certification for electrical appliances. An unsafe appliance can kill a consumer, and high THC hemp can kill a farm.

We established a simple two-step process in order to participate: 

  1. Sign the attached  “Material transfer agreement” and pay the $175 fee per plant ($165 for >100; $150 for >1000). Please make checks payable to Fat Pig Society with Genomic Selection on the Memo line.
  2. Assure seed delivery by May 15th, 2020 or clone delivery by June 1st, 2020 to the following address: Fat Pig Society  317 North Hollywood Street Fort Collins, CO 80521. All clones must be pest free. 

Our team will cultivate your plants in the Certified Organic container test field, and with the Organic Integrated Pest Management developed by the Colorado State University (CSU).  Thus, all of the plants in our program will be USDA certified organic. 

You will receive two (2) copies of each plant that will be propagated and clonally maintained in vegetative state that will serve as your future foundation plant stock. You will also receive a copy of the chemotype testing results, and a copy of all of the phenotypic (physical) traits we measured. This data contains all the necessary information to enter the Colorado Certified Hemp trials,  file for a listing with the  Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and to file for Intellectual Property at USDA/PVP or USPTO. 

Besides being part of the first-of its kind program in the entire country, other benefits of participating in this project include:

 -We can identify  if you were cross pollinated with marijuana, kill them, and return the low risk plants for breeders to restart your seed line (or clones).

– Our project will help you shorten the path to seed stabilization by growing a seed line and allow you to pick out those closest to the  breeding target for the next breeding cycle.

– You can decide if you want to proceed to file IP or AOSCA, and we will provide the application materials, and all of the necessary information about filing fees estimates, and legal costs. Please Note that we can not fill out applications for plants that test >0.3% THC.   

– the data collected about your plants will be part of scientific studies conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder in collaboration with AGF.    

– If we identify a patentable clone variety, you can proceed to full commercialization, Phase 2, of this program. All participants will receive the estimated costs (including the estimated legal fees) and all forms for this next step. Phase 2 includes: Filing for Intellectual property protection- IP; filing for variety listing with AOSCA; entry in the Colorado Certified Hemp  program; plant genome sequencing with posterior analysis by scientists from CU Boulder; patent defense through gene sequencing to identify unauthorized use; and field trials to identify secondary factors like cannabinoid yield per acre, insect and disease resistance, terpenes, etc.    

Meet the Team:

Terry Moran– Project Director- Created and regulated the Nation’s first Certified Hemp Seed Program at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and has an extensive background in plant breeding, IP, and listing with AOSCA.

Dr. Daniela Vergara, PhD- President and founder of the Agricultural Genomics Foundation, a 501(C)3 non profit. Daniela is one of the world leaders in Cannabis genomics.

Barbara Campbell–  One of the top plant patent attorneys in the USA, that will guide breeders and growers to the  best path to IP, including options such as ‘Plant Variety Protection’ through the USDA and ‘Utility or Plant patents’ at the US Patent Office

Bill Althouse– Founder at Fat Pig Society and a  Certified organic hemp Farmer.  Bill has been selecting for the highest quality hemp CBD clones for over 13 years, has screened over 10,000 individual plants, and has built the test platform and protocols to screen CBD plants at scale.

Iginia Boccalandro– Co-founder of Fat Pig Society and hemp farmer for 8 years. With her extremely approachable personality and knowledge of farming in both the US and South America, Iginia will be in charge of the public relations and administrative work. 

Contact- Iginia – 970-325-6556  Email [email protected]