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Deer Devour Hemp Crops at Southern Oregon Farm

MURPHY, Ore. (AP) — Deer got the munchies at an industrial hemp crop in southern Oregon.

The deer got by barbed-wire fencing a couple weeks ago and went through the hemp plants like high-powered mowers, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

“Generally, I don’t think they like cannabis. They liked ours, though,” said Cliff Thomason, a real estate agent who is the steward of the first industrial hemp crop in Oregon, which was planted near Murphy by Thomason and his partners with Orhempco.

The company planted roughly 1,000 plants in the section the deer got into, and Thomason said there are only about 40 left.

Industrial hemp has a low level of THC, the psychoactive property of marijuana. Kit Doyle, another partner in Orhemco, said it’s high in protein and that’s likely why the deer went on a binge.

Orhempco has several crops of industrial hemp – each planted at a different time and is in a different stage of maturity. Doyle said the group expects to have other plants go to harvest that will produce hemp seed for sale.

The land is owned by Josephine County Commissioner Cherryl Walker and her husband, Martin Hill. Fellow county Commissioner Simon Hare also is a partner.

Only some of the crop is protected by the very tall fencing needed to thwart deer. Doyle said a reason some crops were left vulnerable was because of the uncertainty surrounding the program. A bill in the Oregon Legislature would have put Orhempco out of business had it passed the Senate.

“We wanted to hurry and get in the ground and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money,” Doyle said. “Next year, if we decide to grow in the same place, we will have the necessary infrastructure.”

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