Clint and Danette Thompson in the God's Glory Hemp Fields

Our Story – How we got here.

Clint and Danette Thompson never set out to become hemp farmers. The story of how they got here is an example of how God works in our lives, using circumstances to get us ready and break us out of our comfort zone, and using others to bring us along his path.

God’s River of Life – by Clint Thompson

I like to think of Life as kind of like floating down God’s river. You never know what is around the next bend, all you can see is what lies just ahead, but the turns and bends can provide beauty and surprises along the way. You just have to have faith that God has a plan.  We think we are in control, but actually we are just floating down God’s river of life, experiencing new things and not always ending up where or doing what we thought we would be.

After a 30 year career working for my Dad and later managing our family car dealership I got “burned out” and in spring of 2010 walked away from the business that I thought I would be at forever. It was a huge decision and a lot to give up, but I was “over it” mentally and decided to take a year off, pursue my drag racing passion and see what else I could find to do.

I thought “my destiny” was to be partners in the race engine business with the man who manufactured our engines. After several years of chasing the dream and working part time for him for free (to learn the ropes and prove my worth), I was heartbroken in the summer of 2013 when the owner told me that he did not intend to honor his word to finally bring me into the business as a partner. Dejected but not deterred and always believing that God had a plan for us we just carried on, racing our Top Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA.

In October 2014 we had another faith building turn in the river, I had a stroke while driving the racing rig home from Florida.

We were in Nebraska just about 25 miles west of Lincoln shortly after 10 am I pulled off interstate 80 to use the restroom. I filled my coffee, sent a text message to a friend and sat back in the driver’s seat to proceed. At that moment my vision began to get fuzzy, and I felt a little disoriented. I had trouble hooking up the seatbelt, something I did without a thought several times a day. Thinking it was just too much coffee and the sun in my eyes from facing eastward, and not wanting to alarm Danette, I exited the rest area and merged back onto the freeway. For about a mile I looked around trying to focus and feeling very strange, I finally looked at Danette and said “ I’m screwed up” when she asked what was wrong I could not answer her, only gibberish came out of my mouth. She calmly told me to pull over and when I did not stop the truck just coasting down the shoulder she had to get up and pull the brake. She called 911 and amazingly in less than 10 minutes a fire truck and an ambulance arrived. The place we stopped was right between two exits for the small town of Seward Nebraska. The quick help I received and the competent care from the Seward hospital may have saved my life but certainly saved me from the deficits that the stroke could have caused had it been allowed to continue. The point is where we were at the moment I had the stroke. Lincoln was the last major city, then Seward and then many, many miles of Nebraska farmland where help would have been hours away. See the night before, we stopped much earlier than usual. We had prayed for a good spot to spend the night that would be safe and have room for our extra-long rig to park. We always ask God to help us find our spot each day and this day we found a great spot just on the Iowa border and although it was only five o’clock and we usually would drive until 9 or 10 we decided to listen and stop there as we were not on a hurried schedule. The next morning, we got up and left a little later than usual. All these changes to our normal routine caused us to be in just the right spot for me to receive the help I needed! God is Good! Apparently he wasn’t done with me yet, as amazingly I suffered no permanent effects from the stroke and after spending two nights in the hospital Danette and I ended up driving the rest of the way home to Oregon. The stroke left me on blood thinners as a precaution because they had discovered a large hole in my heart, a birth defect that many people have, had allowed a blood clot to make it to my brain. The blood thinners put a stop to my drag racing as they don’t allow you to race when you are on them. This was a huge blow. I felt like I had more racing to do. After doing some research about my condition, I learned that there existed a procedure to put a titanium “patch” on the hole in my heart. We were blessed to find a pediatric surgeon at OHSU in Portland that specialized in performing the procedure……….. on babies and children! After consulting with the Doctor and pleading my case that I am still “young” and active, and still have racing to do, (LOL) he agreed to do the surgery and convinced our insurance carrier to foot the bill (which we could not have afforded). Within a few months I was patched up, off of the thinners, and cleared to go back to my passion of drag racing. God is Good.

So there we were, floating down God’s river of life, living the dream, doing what we loved but knowing that we needed to find something for me to do to earn a living. “What is the plan God?

In summer 2016 I got introduced through a mutual friend to some people who are in the race engine business and moving their manufacturing from Australia to the US. They were looking for an American to represent their business and head up the sales end of things. This fit perfectly with my background and strengths and my desires. At last I thought that God had shown me the path and surely this was it! We made an agreement and I began my work for them in September. Many twists and turns in the river over the course of the following year found us stuck at yet another dead end. After many broken promises and no real plan for making this a “real job” worthy of Danette and I moving across the country to their new headquarters in South Carolina, I made the decision in the fall of 2017 to cut ties with them and move on. Hmmm. I really thought this was “it”… “What is the plan God?”

Prior to purchasing River Bend Farm, Danette and I had ZERO farming experience. One night in October 2017 my brother called me up (which by itself was an unusual thing) and told me we should partner up and grow hemp.  Laughing, I responded “for what, are we gonna make some rope?” as I had never heard of growing hemp plants for CBD medicine. I began investigating the burgeoning industrial hemp business and the benefits and huge market for CBD, a cannabinoid found in hemp plants. Quickly my brother and I made plans to form a partnership and began searching for just the right farm property. After weeks of shopping and getting disappointed when offers on two different properties we liked fell through, I found our dream property in Douglas County on the S. Umpqua River. Really even this was just a lesson in God’s perfect way. Prior to finding the River Bend Farm, we had made an offer on another farm and were excited and thought this was “the one”, when the offer was refused in favor of another buyer we were very disappointed. This however caused me to go back to the computer that evening and continue the search. I decided to try a search in Douglas County as we had not previously been looking there and that night online I found “it”. The River Bend Ranch had been on the market and sold but after a month the buyer backed out just before closing without explanation. The day I found the property for sale was the first day it had been back on the market! Being just two days before Thanksgiving we could not tour the property until that Friday. Danette and I instantly fell in love! By Sunday we had made an accepted offer on the property, it was now official we were moving! Shortly after we purchased the farm, other interests caused my brother to not partner with us in the business. Unfortunately we were counting on his contacts and employees that knew about growing cannabis and contacts for selling it. This left us with a farm we just purchased and no experience or partner. Resolute in our feeling that we were being led on this path by God, we decided in faith to just forge ahead and become hemp farmers. Fully knowing that “God would fill in the blanks” and “through Christ we could do anything” we began trying to learn what we did not know and find people to help us figure it out.

We prayed for God to provide us with the knowledge and people we needed to accomplish our task. We didn’t have a lot of time as it was already mid-march and the plants would go in the first of June. We were referred to a local farmer whom had asked the people at the local feed store NOT to give out his number to anyone as he did not want to do any farming work for hire. The nice lady at the store gave Danette his number in spite of his wishes and when she called him he reluctantly agreed to come meet with us. We needed someone with the equipment and know how to work up our ground and get it ready for planting and he ended up being the one. We also needed someone to design the drip irrigation setup we would need, our farmer recommended us to the best man in Southern Oregon, whom we ended up hiring. So God was at work connecting us with the people we needed to help us along. We also needed to hire a helper at the farm, we felt we would need a basically full time person, but our immediate need was the assembling and installing the irrigation set up. By the time we found our guy his installation crews were already fully booked for the season. He told us he could set us up with a kit with every last part we needed and instruct us and advise us but we would have to do it ourselves. So with another example of God’s provision, we were introduced to a young man who was here with his family on a temporary basis that needed work. We live a ways out and so finding workers is a bit of an issue. Now mind you we had not advertised or anything, God just brought us to this young man and he began working for us. I told him I would hire him as many hours per week as he wanted because I didn’t want him to have to look around and maybe not be available when we did the upcoming irrigation project. He ended up liking the area and working for us and decided to buy a place and work for us full time. Since then we have not searched for help at all, our relationships with other people just always seem to connect us with the right people at the right time. God is Good!

So the irrigation project was a big undertaking for the three of us, but we had an expert guide and help us so it was very doable. We got that done and it was time to plant the plants. I had decided to purchase “clone starts” planted in our fields. The deal was we prepare the ground and the water, they come in with small tractors and plant the plants. When I was looking into whom to work with, I found two men that we really liked and ultimately decided to use both of them. We have two fields so one for each. The plants went in the same weekend in June and there was bad weather on that Saturday. The man doing the back field ended up tractorless and had a crew planting 6000 plants by hand. The front field was half done, and that crew was not working on Saturday due to the call for bad weather. At one point in the afternoon the skies turned dark the wind kicked up and it started to hail. Oh no! We’ve got brand new little baby plants in the ground. Danette and I were out in the front field on our utv when the hail started and we just sat there and started praying. The hail stopped, some rain and wind continued but the plants were fine. The next day reports from neighbors in the area indicated that it had hailed hard all around us, but God held his hand over our fields and protected our plants. God is Amazing!

In the end we were blessed with a bountiful harvest of beautiful hemp. To God we give the Glory for without His guidance we would have never made it to the starting point. We feel very blessed to live in this beautiful spot and to be farmers for God, growing a glorious plant with so many wonderful possibilities, meeting and working with new people, and growing our faith in Him every day. God is Good.

So after about ten days, the plants out back were doing great. They had been very small when planted but they were thriving and growing. The plants out front, not so much. They were yellowing and not growing at all. I was giving both crops the same care (or lack of) and the soil in the fields is basically the same. I struggled with what was the difference and prayed for God’s guidance. On Saturday two weeks after planting, Danette and I were out checking things and talking and it hit me. The difference was the back field was hand planted, with each plant lovingly placed in its spot. The front was planted with a tractor, digging a trench and spitting the plants into the ground. We went up to the top row in the front field and started pressing down on the base of the plant stems. They would all push about 2 inches into the ground. The reason they were struggling is they weren’t plugged into the earth. Beginning the next day we started the process of basically replanting the 12000 plants in the front field. Day after day, pushing the plants in or digging them out and replanting. Stomping the row with our feet between the plants to pack the “trench” that the tractor had dug and not repacked properly. After a week of this, we began hand fertilizing all the plants to give them some nourishment as they obviously had not put good roots out yet. As I slowly drove a riding lawnmower pulling a trailer with a sprayer, my helper walked behind giving each plant a “drink”. This took four days to complete, and as we did it I was praying constantly, thanking the Lord for saving these plants and promising Him if He would fill in the blanks left by my lack of farming knowledge, that we would do the work and grow the hemp to Glorify Him.

Throughout a long summer of hard work and learning, I constantly looked to God to provide the direction and help we needed, and thanked him for saving our plants, for keeping them safe from bugs and pests without the use of anything except God’s pest patrol (wild turkeys, lady bugs and spiders) and promising that we would give Him the Glory for our success.

So in late September we began the harvest. It would last for six weeks and prove to be some of the hardest work Danette and I have ever done. We had amazing help from great people and what at times looked to be almost insurmountable was made possible through faith, hard work, and perseverance. Many times Danette and I needed to lean on each other for support. We made an agreement that we couldn’t both be low or defeated at the same time because one of us had to pick the other up.   Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” became our rock.

In the end we were blessed with a bountiful harvest of beautiful hemp. To God we give the Glory for without His guidance we would have never made it to the starting point. We feel very blessed to live in this beautiful spot and to be farmers for God, growing a glorious plant with so many wonderful possibilities, meeting and working with new people, and growing our faith in Him every day. God is Good. 

How to give Him the Glory?

Apparently the answer to that question is the God’s Glory Hemp Co. line of CBD products! We had no interest in making and selling products, we only wanted to grow the hemp and sell the flower for others to process. But the Lord had other ideas. I kept getting messages about the products from different people, the Lord was at work, bringing the concept of making products from our hemp to sell into my realm in many different ways. One day when I was driving home from delivering some hemp up north, the name and the idea of giving the Lord glory through the products came to me. With a line of products and a website we could tell our story of faith and testify for the Lord through our interactions with customers and the healing products he has provided. With a successful brand we could give Him the Glory by helping others through donations, tithing to Christian organizations, employment, in addition to the healing benefits provided by the products. When I got home, I told Danette about the ideas the Lord had given me and we discussed it further and prayed about it. We brought the idea to my Grandmother who is one of the most spiritual people I know and she teared up when she heard the plans. Once we gave in and decided this was part of God’s plan for us, doors again opened and the right people to help us came into our lives. We met the team at Focus Hemp Co. who now manufactures all our products for us locally in Eagle Point, Oregon. They have been instrumental in helping us develop unique formulas for our products, providing guidance, assisting with packaging and labeling and everything it takes to bring top quality hand made products to the marketplace.

Considering I didn’t even want to get into the product business, it is important to note that this is now my favorite part of what we do. As a “Seed to Shelf” producer it is very satisfying to see the results of our labor not just in the hemp that we grow but right to the end customer that gets the relief and benefits from the product produced. Dealing with customers face to face every week at the farmers market and via email, and facebook, answering their questions, educating people about this amazing healing plant and the benefits of quality full spectrum hemp oil is a labor of love. Very gratifying to hear and read the comments praising the products that God has allowed us to be the steward of. Our goal now is to grow the God’s Glory Hemp Co. brand to the point that we can use our entire crop at Thompson’s River Bend Farm and to spread the Good News giving God the Glory in everything we do! Please help us by sharing God’s Glory with all your family and friends!