Cultivating a Purpose

Samuel Hoefler | Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science | Meadville, PA

Head Grower at Prūf Cultivar | Transfer Student | Ecampus

Escape in Nature

I'm originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, and I grew up surrounded by nature and exploring the natural world. Nature was, at times, an escape from the world and environment I grew up in. I never realized how important nature, plants, cultivation, and education would become in improving my quality of life, and I couldn't be happier advancing my education with Oregon State. 

I've been involved in the cannabis and hemp industry for about 10 years now. Originally, I saw cannabis as an opportunity to help heal myself and those around me, both physically and mentally. I explored consumption early on and then found a world of patients around me that could benefit from the medicinal use of it. I never expected to become so fascinated and enthralled with learning how to grow it, but I believe that hemp gives a platform to introduce the world of science to people who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity or the interest. After many years of working in this industry, I've been able to help create some novel approaches to cultivation and achieve high levels of production success while sticking to core values of sustainability and ecological responsibility.

On the Move to Destiny

In 2017, I was moving on from a recent death of a close friend. I packed all my things and spent a few days driving across the country, about 3,500 miles away to a place I'd never been. I walked onto the beach of the Pacific Ocean for the first time in August of 2017 on the day of the Solar Eclipse. Everything seemed to drop away, and I realized for the first time in my life that I was in charge of my own destiny.

In 2019 I moved to Southern Oregon to run a large 50-acre hemp farm. This was an incredible opportunity that really started to teach me about the depth of knowledge to be learned in crop production as a whole. From there, I was hired by Penn State Harrisburg to run their university greenhouses as well as design and manage a new hemp tissue culture lab and greenhouse space focused on producing hemp clones for the national market. In August of 2020, I took a job offer in Portland, Oregon where I'm Head Grower for the largest indoor producer of cannabis in Oregon, Prūf Cultivar.

Living the Dream

After high school, I had some rough patches in my life that took me to a pretty low place. I decided that I wanted a better life, and there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting there. I decided to try to go back to school 4 years after high school and had my eyes set on my dream school, Oregon State University. Unfortunately at the time, I hadn't taken the SATs nor had any high school transcripts worthy of admittance. I took the SAT's and achieved a relatively high score and from there I started attending a small community college online from Ohio. In 2020 I reapplied to Oregon State and to my amazement, I was accepted and have maintained a 3.8 GPA ever since.

Oregon State has been an absolute joy to attend and be a part of. My schedule between work, school, and personal life is packed full of busy days, but I find time to connect with the faculty of the Ag Sciences department and have amazing dialogue about the current hemp studies happening throughout Oregon. My advice to fellow students is to always utilize the opportunities that OSU provides for you. The faculty are world class and brilliant. I've made so many great connections by reaching out to professors and faculty that are currently researching topics of interest to me. I've never been turned away and have created a wonderful network along the way.

Future Hemployment

Five years from now, I still plan to be in Portland. With the industry I'm in, we're looking at exponential growth going forward. This year has been really exciting working on some groundbreaking projects, and I expect my career to really excel as I move forward. Within the next 5 years, I plan to be one of the leading experts on cannabis nutrition with a focus on teaching production facilities worldwide on how to responsibly and sustainably create craft products that are tailored towards what the end consumer really needs. Hopefully, I'll also be finishing up my Masters by then.

An Ocean of Endless Opportunity

My life has been anything but easy. There's definitely been difficulty mentally, professionally, and behaviorally. For anyone struggling that may read this, I encourage you to reach out to those around you for help. It takes incredible strength to admit when we're weak, but there's an amazing opportunity to it. There's been thousands of times that I've felt defeated and like I couldn't go on, but I'm proud to say that today I feel untouchable and like the world is an ocean of endless opportunity. 

Amidst a global pandemic, for those in despair, I urge you to utilize Oregon State's mental health and drug abuse services. To incoming students, know that at first it will be tough. For those trying to start their careers, just to keep pushing. Opportunity strikes when we least expect it, and all the experiences in your life are valid and provide you with the unique knowledge that no one else has. Most importantly however, you absolutely can do it! You're amazing and you've got this! Go Beavs!

Instagram: @sam_hoefler

LinkedIn: Sam Hoefler

Podcast Interview: Data Driven Fertigation at Pruf Cultivar with Sam Hoefler