A California farmer and hemp expert filed a $3 million complaint against three Douglas County hemp farms for work he reportedly did for the farms but was allegedly not paid for.
The $3 million amounts to 30% of the $10 million the hemp farms were expected to generate in annual revenue, according to the complaint filed by Michael Disnard against Richard and Patricia Luna, owners of Luna Farms, in Circuit Court on Nov. 20.
According to the complaint, the Lunas signed a contract with Disnard in May 2019 to act as master grower for three hemp farms in Douglas County, totaling 20 acres. The contract called for Disnard to provide his expertise and labor to grow the hemp in exchange for 30% of the income from the operations.
Prior to Disnard’s work, the three farms were unsuitable for growing hemp, the complaint said.
Disnard allegedly prepared the soil for organic hemp farming, including soil testing and the addition of several tons of chemicals and fertilizer to optimize the pH and improve soil drainage. At one of the farms, which is 8 acres, Disnard said he added the following: 3 tons of lime, 1 ton of fumic acid (sic), 1 ton of fishbone meal, 1 ton of oyster flour, and 75,000 pounds of gravel for drainage. Disnard claimed he designed the irrigation system, purchased a $700 pump with his own money, modified equipment as needed and planted more than 10,000 hemp plants.
Disnard said he paid all of the labor costs for the farms, totaling about $17,000.
In August 2019, after Disnard’s work prior to harvest was done and the hemp plants were established, Disnard said Richard Luna told him he could take some time off. While Disnard was away visiting family in Washington, Luna reportedly texted him that he was terminating the contract with Disnard because one of his employees had stolen $15 worth of bottles and cans. The bottles and cans had been purchased by the employees and did not belong to Luna, the complaint said.
Luna also pulled out about 1,500 “Colorado Cherry” hemp plants that Disnard had selected and planted pursuant to the terms of the contract, and replaced them with a different hemp plant variety which Luna has since attempted to charge Disnard for, according to the complaint.
Disnard said he has the expertise to distinguish male from female plants, while Luna does not, and because of that Disnard would have been able to properly grow the Colorado Cherry hemp plants if Luna had not wrongfully terminated the contract.
Luna Farms did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Disnard is represented by attorney Mark Jurva, of the West Linn firm Jurva Martin, PC.