Johnston County farmer says thieves stole more than $1,200 worth of hemp from his field

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Johnston County farmer said his property had been hit by thieves twice over the past two weeks, with the latest incident costing him a sizeable portion of his hemp crops.

Jonathan Keith began growing hemp at his family farm this year in an attempt to diversify their crops, following diminishing returns in tobacco.

"Hoping that there is going to be a market for it later on, or continuing market for it," said Keith.

The first time his property along Massengill Pond Road was hit, Keith noticed a few hemp plants were missing. However, he didn't file a report, noting the fairly minimal amount.

However, last Saturday, Keith found a far larger amount missing - 25 plants - totaling $1,250 in market value.

"They went in there with a machete or a knife, and cut the stock, so the whole plant would come," said Keith.

In response, Keith removed the rest of his hemp from the field and moved it into the barn.

"I work long hours and don't get home to my family until 10, 11 o'clock at night. And then you have somebody just coming in taking what you're working for, that's taking away from your family," said Keith.

The Johnston County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.
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