Rafael Dulon has been involved in nearly all aspects of the hemp value chain since 1997, after Germany resumed legalization of hemp as an agricultural crop the year before.
Now Dulon’s firm, Berlin-based Hanf Farm GmbH, which he serves as CEO, has extended its industry footprint with the rollout of an industrial-grade harvesting system, the Multi-Combine HC 3400 — a major technological step forward that can help hemp farmers realize the full promise of the plant on a massive scale.
Solution for mid- and big-scale farms
“Harvesting hemp on a large scale has always been complicated,” Dulon said. “We believe our harvester is a major advancement addressing this issue — which has been an ongoing challenge for the industry.”
To give birth to the MC HC 3400, Hanf Farm started working with a range of contractors and suppliers in 2014 to develop a prototype. By August 2015 the company completed its initial working model which was employed during harvests last year and in 2016.
Dulon has spent a lot of time on the road since, introducing the machine in what Hanf Farm sees as promising markets — as the the demand for hemp raw materials shifts to focus on effective collection of the plant’s flowers and leaves — a process that was only possible by hand in the past. The new MC HC 3400 system allows for the lopping off of the plant tops several times during the yearly vegetation.
In his talks with farmers thus far, Dulon has also heard from smaller growers about their equipment needs in the field. In that light Hanf Farm has already started work on a Multi-Combine Light Version — a smaller harvesting system that can be hooked up to existing tractors.
20-year hemp odyssey
For Dulon, the harvester project is just the next logical step in his 20-year hemp odyssey.
As soon as Germany freed up hemp again at the end of last century, Dulon began cultivating seeds in Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, processing them into organic, high quality edible oils. Down through the years Hanf Farm has expanded operations — first by working closely with local farmers to expand its growing area; the company’s reach now extends to fields in eastern Germany and some Central European countries.
Along the way, the company also has expanded its product offerings, moving beyond edible oils into a wide range of teas, flour, protein powders, biscuits and hemp-seed chocolate bars, and raw materials for CBD production ground leaves, pellets and CBD-powder. Hanf Farm has extensive distribution around Europe and in several non-European countries, Dulon said.
Focus on the environment
The fields from which Hanf Farm gets raw plant material are primarily in ecologically managed areas that produce organically grown crops — an environmentally friendly process that Hanf Farm takes seriously: The company was the first European hemp processor to receive certification for hemp seeds, leaves and flowers under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC-PLUS) regime, which it was granted in January 2016. The designation guarantees that the biomass is not produced on land with high biodiversity and high carbon storage.
“Our goal is the production of innovative and sustainable products with respect for ecological, social and economic aspects of agriculture and food production,” says Dulon. “It was a logical step forward to have our products certified, as we are totally dedicated to agricultural good practices that demonstrate our commitment to the environment and to humanity in general.”
Hanf Farm GmbH
Chief Executive Officer: Rafael Dulon
Profile: Vertically integrated industrial hemp grower; developer of hemp harvesting and processing technology; producer of a wide range of hemp food and other derivatives