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John appears in the Top 100 

Innovators & Entrepreneurs Magazine

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John Read


John Read has more than 20 years of experience in agriculture and risk management and has been involved in a number of start-ups throughout his career. In 2012, he founded and was CEO of Ag Armour, a private crop insurance company that was acquired in 2017. He then served as CEO of The Assure Group, a leading crop insurance agency in the Midwest, which was acquired in 2022. However, in 2018, he got involved in the hemp space when he was asked to create a risk management program for farmers.


In 2019, John started Whitefield Partners, and in 2022, launched Whitfield Global Holdings. Whitefield started initially working with CBD, but the long-term goal was always to work with industrial hemp for industrial purposes, from construction products to plastics. As the CEO, John’s focus is on the company’s growth and expansion, and he has become an industry leader in the Midwest through consulting, growing, and processing hemp. This fast-growing industry offers a carbon-negative future and expansive opportunities for landowners, farmers, processors, retailers, and more.


John took some time to talk with us more about his company and the secrets to its success, his role as an entrepreneur, and why they’re competing in a contest run by Elon Musk.


How much has Whitefield Global grown since you first founded the business?


When we first started, we were a small company supporting hemp growers in Illinois and Missouri and today, we believe we are one of the fastest-growing leaders in the industry, supporting growers nationwide. We now offer resources to not only growers, but to various branches of the industry, including farming, risk management, extraction, fiber processing, wholesale distribution, and much more. Whitefield is the first company to put an industrial hemp processing facility in Idaho in 2023.


Please tell us more about how the company works and what it does, specifically.


We are working to create a “one-stop shop” for growers, but also other groups that want to enter into processing. We work with farmers on risk management and we will help them process their industrial hemp and transform it into fiber and hurd that can be sold into markets that can use it in everyday products. One of our goals is to enter construction space, where it can be used for construction products such as plywood or composite lumber. Because of hemp’s ESG qualities, I have been consulting and working in the carbon credit space to help build a path forward for carbon credits for growers, processors, and other manufacturers.


What separates Whitefield Holdings from similar businesses in the hemp industry?


Our ability to focus on the farmer first is what really sets us apart. We are working to establish a long-term, sustainable model that benefits the farmer and also makes processing hemp a competitive alternative. A lot of other companies focus on selling their products to compete with established markets, but Whitefield focuses on what it takes to engage the farmer first. We are working to build a long-term sustainable supply chain, which must start with the grower. An additional advantage to the grower is that hemp will be a new rotational crop for the farmer that potentially brings large carbon credit opportunities. I also believe we have built the strongest management team in the industry. This team has a combined 40+ years working in startups, 50+ years of combined hemp knowledge, 80+ years of agriculture experience, and 80+ years of risk management experience. 


What do you think makes you a good entrepreneur?


I believe I have 3 specific strengths that have helped me with my career. First, I tend to have a strong vision and can find opportunities in areas others have not. Second, I’m able to look at complex products or markets and can create a vision that is simplified and easy to understand. However, the most important trait for any entrepreneur is having a NO quit attitude. No matter what happens, things get difficult, and you have to believe in yourself, your vision, and your team. I believe perseverance is a key attribute to anyone’s success.



John Read

Co-Founder & CEO— Whitefield Global Holdings



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