Jai Armstrong, a 2009 graduate of Ashland High School, has come up with what he says is a million-dollar idea that makes marijuana harvest easier and more dependable while providing local jobs.
It’s called "Trimcamp," after the camps of “trimigrants” — people who travel from grow to grow, making money separating desirable leaves and buds from stems. But trimigrants aren't always dependable, sometimes make a mess and sleep all over growers’ property, says Armstrong.
Armstrong's operation keeps bud trimming clean and dependable in large trucks lined with trimming booths. Workers, who are locally hired, screened and Oregon Liquor Control Commission-permitted, trim on site, deliver clean product and bring their own portable restrooms and electricity.
Armstrong provides managers and covers workers' compensation. He pays by the pound, offers profit sharing to workers and handles other expenses that “get rid of the headache in trimming and just deliver what farmers need, then leave,” he says.
Trimcamp now has 20 trimmers and one big truck, but Armstrong plans this year to outfit two more trucks. He also hopes to build pot-shipping containers (for rail, plane or ship) and triple his workforce.
Trimcamp's motto is, “Your solution is here.”
Armstrong is one of five owners, with his father-in-law Dave Nourie in place as chief financial officer.
“It’s a big relief for farmers during harvest,” Nourie says. Growers pay for product by the pound and sell it to dispensaries.
“There are a lot of flaws in the industry,” Armstrong says. “The workers come from all over, and they’re not necessarily trustworthy. The farmers are trying to manage 20 or 30 people, but they’re farmers, not management people. There’s lots of trash, and they need to be sure they’re not getting ripped off.”
A quality trimming team takes all the weight off the farmer, says Armstrong. “The workers live here. We do interviews and look at their resumes and, of course, they have to qualify for an OLCC permit and get a background check.”
Trimcamp is now servicing the so-called Emerald Triangle that includes Southern Oregon and much of Northern California, but Armstrong plans to branch out as far as Portland and Bend. The outfit already serves the far-off areas on big grows, but when it is operating on a regular basis there, it plans to have permanent vehicles and staff who live there.
Armstrong says the idea is unique in states that allow pot grows. Trimcamp charges growers $120 to $190 a pound, depending on the amount of trimming desired.
Trimcamp caters to medical and recreational cannabis growers and abides by all applicable rules and regulations established by the OLCC, Oregon Health Authority and the state of Oregon, says a brochure.
Based on first-quarter earnings, the operation is on track to pass $1 million in gross earnings, says Armstrong, allowing for the envisioned expansion.
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.