Facing hemp crop damage from February 2021 winter storm

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Oak Cliff Cultivators in McCullough County, Texas, experienced busted PVC pipes, busted pumps and other water and freeze damage to their two facilities when Texas was hit by record-breaking cold weather in February 2021. Their hemp was damaged and the planting must start again.

“We lost our power for five days. We lost water, and at the end of that lost about 250 plants. We lost our entire lot of our Taste of Texas Hemp Cup Award-Winning Flower CBG Ice #9,” said Eddie Velez of Oak Cliff Cultivators. I quickly realized that I could use documentation on the Hempliance App to substantiate my loss. That's what happened in a nutshell.”

Award-Winning Hemp Growers

Eddie and Martha Velez run Oak Cliff Cultivators, which grows hemp for CBD and CBG products sold under the Oak Cliff label online directly to customers and also through shops across Texas.

Eddie describes their controlled growing environment this way, “We have about 6000 square foot of our growing space in our greenhouse, and a 2000 square foot indoor climate controlled drying house. And the Hempliance App has enabled me to get the business better organized by recording information at each stage of a flower, or each stage of the growing process. With the Hempliance App, I'm able to update my plants, update life stages and do data analysis on how our plants are doing, and growing.”

“I've been doing all that with the Hempliance App before the extreme storm came to Texas in the middle of February,” Eddie commented.

"Oak Cliff Cultivators has been leading by example for Texas hemp production. After we met at the Taste of Texas Hemp Cup in December, Eddie took the initiative to increase his investment in data collection for 2021,” says Nathan R. Murphy, VP Outreach at Hempliance. “We are here to help growers maximize their efficiencies while mitigating risks, whether known or unexpected."

Important Documentation

Eddie Velez worked for FEMA for more than ten years, and understands what documentation is necessary to apply for assistance. When FEMA provides a Declaration for more than 100 counties in the state of Texas, which is called a Major Declaration, it enables people to apply for federal assistance to various agencies, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Eddie says, “Anytime there's a Federal declaration, a FEMA Declaration, you have to exhaust prior insurance coverage first if you have it. Once you exhaust that insurance coverage, then there's where additional federal assistance kicks in to fill the gap.”

“Because of the Hempliance App, I'm able to document or substantiate every kind of loss that I experienced through this February winter storm,” said Eddie. “I have information and pictures of contents within my structures for claims. Although I don’t have crop insurance, I have what’s needed to enable us to apply for Federal Assistance under the FEMA Declaration.”

"While the recent storm has been a disaster in many ways, it is good to see Oak Cliff taking a proactive approach” remarks Nathan. “Using the example that Eddie has set, we believe this process can be used to help others in Texas facing the same dilemma who may be unsure about what they can do to recover."

Disaster Recovery

Businesses impacted by the storm may qualify for grants or low interest loans for facilities, equipment, inventory losses and operating expenses. Texans who are without insurance or denied an insurance claim in counties identified under the major disaster declaration can go ahead and apply for Federal aid and include photographs of any damage visible.

Visit www.disasterassistance.gov to apply online. Anyone with limited internet access can call the SBA at 1-800-621-3362 to request the application by mail or visit a FEMA disaster center in person.

Future Plans

Eddie and Martha Velez can look beyond the disaster knowing they were prepared. Instead of worrying about the lost crop. Eddie says he is looking at the positive side of the coin. He notes that this disaster is an opportunity to upgrade his greenhouses a little bit with hindsight to avoid other disasters, as well as try out new strains and new seeds when he sets a fresh crop.

Now that Texas has moved past the prohibition of hemp, Eddie and Martha provide information and education to break the old stigma of cannabis. The many health & wellness benefits of CBD and CBG are listed on their website https://oakcliffcultivators.com

Oak Cliff Cultivators is a family and veteran-owned farm based in Brady, “The heart of Texas.” At the boutique hemp nursery, Martha and Eddie Velez cultivate hemp genetics for health & wellness or culinary needs. (Photo above on on 01/27/2021 and after the 02/11/2021 storm damage.

Below: Inside the drying facility at Oak Cliff Cultivators in McCullough County, Texas.

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