By Heather Collins
Well before the hemp planting season, the team at New West Genetics, a global leader in hemp seed genetics, is usually found out in the field talking to farmers about the past year’s harvest, and discussing ways to make next year’s yield more prosperous.
“Our farmer’s challenges are our challenges,” says Wendy Mosher, President and CEO, New West Genetics. “We want to get to the root of those and understand how we can help them for the next growing season. It’s all about building the knowledge for positive results later.”
Fort Collins-based New West Genetics uses genomic technology, a scientific approach that enhances the hemp seed that increases yields while decreasing costs. According to Mosher, “New West is revolutionizing the hemp industry by creating the most reliable proprietary hemp seed through breeding and genetics. We identify complex traits at the gene level, which helps accelerate breeding and pinpoint traits to improve the seed.”
New West Genetics indicates that through its patented genomic data, its team of scientists, breeders, and researchers can better help farmers address complex issues that could threaten their crop, such as disease resistance, frost tolerance, and compliant cannabinoid profiles.
The Art & Science of Hemp
It wasn’t always about science for Wendy.
“I initially started my career in business, then into education and then back to business again. But all along the ride I was married to a scientist,” shares Mosher. “My husband and I would do field work in his experimental plots, then in the lab, all the while constantly surrounded by scientists. I inadvertently absorbed a general understanding of plant biology and genetics, and luckily that vernacular stuck with me. My past experience as an educator helps me breakdown that highly technical science into an understandable story for the general public – I love being the bridge between the public and the science we do at NWG.”
After living internationally and putting down roots in Colorado, Mosher combined her communication skills, her husband’s science background, and their partner Rich Fletcher’s commercial breeding experience, and thus in 2014, New West Genetics was born. Mosher adds, “With the legal approval of hemp, we saw an opportunity to apply the art and science to the crop. Since we live in Colorado, we found ourselves in the right place at the right time.”
Success Starts at the Seed
New West Genetics supplies a wide range of hemp seeds and provides extensive agronomic knowledge from its team to its customers.
“Everyone deserves access to hemp, and that’s why we breed for mechanical production – to bring down the costs thus enhancing end consumers access. We also provide an opportunity for farmers to get a better return than traditional commodity crops, with a more sustainable rotation option. We learn right alongside our growers, encouraging them to utilize the whole plant, which mitigates risk,” says Mosher.
New West Genetics sells their ELITE® and ABOUND™ family of varieties nationwide, and the company is looking forward to a market expansion in 2021 in Canada.
“We develop strong, mutually beneficial partnerships, built on high standards with clear expectations for both parties: high-performing genetics and agronomy consultation,” says Mosher.
Agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production, is something that New West Genetics takes pride in as a breeding provider. Whether for grain, fiber, or cannabinoids, each hemp segment has its own set of requirements when it comes to production. That’s why Wendy and her team of scientists closely engage with farming operations and production processes.
What’s Ahead: Innovations in 2021
Wendy is a steering committee member of the Hemp Feed Coalition, which supports the use of hemp grain in animal feed. The New West Genetics team sees incredible potential in hemp grain, which has optimized lipid and protein content for both human and animal health.
“I truly believe hemp grain will be a major part of the future of this industry because it contains unique health properties that are beneficial such as high Omega-3 contents. There is substantial potential; we’re just not there yet as hemp grain is still a niche end product, until we get these approvals,” says Mosher.
New West Genetics also has plans to release its new seed variety, “with genetically skewed gender ratios potentially up to 90% female to 10% male. This innovation will nearly double the yield of grain and flower – thus greatly benefiting growers.”
Wendy also is looking forward to participating as a panelist and sponsor of the We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA) Winter Hemp Summit Virtual Conference and Networking Event on Thursday, January 14, 2021. “It’s not easy being a hemp farmer or producer these days. I see the Winter Hemp Summit as a perfect platform to gather as a community to discuss what’s next for our ever-changing and evolving industry.”
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Heather Collins is an Account Manager for Compass Natural Marketing and has been working in communications and marketing in the natural products industry for the past twenty years. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo. Collins serves as a Contributing Writer of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.