Michael Bowman on the state of farmers, the uncertainty in Washington D.C., and why hemp is good for the environment and economy.
On a sweltering July night, Michael Bowman entered the Washington, D.C., watering hole The Dubliner to meet a member of Law Enforcement Action Partnership with ties close to the White House. As a longtime advocate for federal public policy that strengthens rural communities with a focus on soil health, biochar, renewable energy, and environmental markets, Bowman has been to the United States capitol many times. But this trip was different. Since the passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64 in 2012, his focus has turned exclusively to industrial hemp policy. His decade-plus of work in sustainability issues garnered a robust bipartisan network that trusted him.
“This trip was purely agenda-driven due to what the industry has been missing since November’s election—namely, a president with still no clear message or directive regarding our industry,” said Bowman, a bearded, avuncular man with a calm demeanor and an intense gaze.
“Hemp is a drought-resistant plant. It needs little or no herbicides and pesticides. It has a root structure that improves the tilth of the soil [and] can absorb four times more CO2 per acre per crop than a standing forest. Suddenly, I found every box on my list of attributes of a ‘dream crop.’” —Michael Bowman