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Marketing hemp oils and seeds; a Pride of Dakota product

Dennis and Ruth Schmidt were inundated with inquires about their products when they participated in the Pride of Dakota Dickinson Showcase last weekend.

Their products -- hemp and flax oils and seeds -- are marketed through their business Ruden Healthy Oils. Ruth handed out samples of oils, while Dennis talked about the health benefits of hemp oils and seeds. For good measure, Dennis wore a shirt made of 60 percent industrial hemp and 40 percent cotton.

“We had lots of questions -- it’s something new,” Dennis said.

As a distributor, he said,  “I buy the oil and seed in bulk from my processor in Carrington, and break it down into four-ounce and eight-ounce bottles each.”

Dennis is retired after a career of farming and civil service as a postmaster. They were in Bowman for a while before moving to Ryder. They currently live in Minot.

He learned about the oils after he had been suffering with joint pain .

During a Pride of Dakota show in Minot, he was referred to a healthy oils producer in Carrington.

“My biggest issue was I couldn’t get out of the car very easily, so when I got some hemp oil from the producer, I rubbed it on before bed. Within a week, I felt a difference. I can get out of the car again.”

He was given marketing advice and filed for a business name. He was accepted as a Pride of Dakota business in January and has established his own website -- www.rudenhealthyoils.com Not a person to sit around, he is selling healthy oils as a retirement job. He’s reserved one room in the basement where he bottles the products.

“The best seller is the oils -- it reduces joint pain,” he said.

Sometimes, he’ll swallow a teaspoon of the oil, which, according to his research, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.

But the Rudens went on to market the other hemp products -- hemp protein powder and various hemp seeds.

“Hemp seed is better than flax seed. We grind it and put it in smoothies… you can put it in salads, dips or yogurt -- those kinds of things. It’s very rich in omega 3 and omega 6,” he said.

His research also revealed historic trivia.

“George Washington and several other presidents in the early years of the nation grew hemp and used it for rope,” he said. “Thomas Jefferson used it for his clothing and so forth. His family mixed the hemp with cotton.”

By becoming a distributor. Schmidt is hoping industrial hemp products catch on.

“I remember my dad, back in the ’40s saying farmers grew hemp for rope -- that hemp rope is really strong,” he said. “We are selling the products to create a demand for farmers to continue growing it.”

To learn about hemp and flax oils and seeds, visit his website, www.rudenhealthyoils.com.

Fast facts

* Industrial hemp is not the same as marijuana. Industrial hemp refers to the varieties of the cannabis sativa plant that have negligible amounts (.3 percent or less) of THC, the chemical compound that gets you high.

* The North Dakota Department of Agriculture created the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program to research the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp in North Dakota.  Producers may apply for an industrial hemp license.

* It is a violation of federal criminal law to grow industrial hemp unless it is grown either as a state industrial hemp pilot program or under a Drug Enforcement Administration permit.

* Hemp is the basis for more than 25,000 products, such as pharmaceuticals, food, feed,  cosmetics, inks, paper, lubrication, detergents, varnishes and paints.

* More than 30 countries produce industrial hemp. Canada is a leading producer of industrial hemp.

-- Source North Dakota Department of Agriculture/industrial hemp