Title: Vice president of cultivation
Company: Statehouse Holdings
In 2022, Travis Higginbotham and his cultivation team at California’s Statehouse Holdings more than doubled the company’s yields from 2021 and reduced costs by about 33%, all while taking home a total of seven awards from the Emerald Cup and the California State Fair.
With 10 years of experience in traditional horticulture, working with ornamental crop production at scale, Higginbotham brings a traditional ag perspective of efficiencies and science to his role running a 230,000-square-foot cannabis production greenhouse. He holds a BS in Horticulture from Clemson University and an MS in Horticulture from Virginia Tech University and is the co-inventor of two smart-farming patents focused on managing Photoperiod and Light Acclimation, respectively.
Before joining the cannabis industry, Higginbotham made a name for himself as director of research and development for Battlefield Farms, a 1.8-million-square-foot greenhouse operation named one of the top 100 growers in the country. While there, Higginbotham managed partnerships with 28 global floricultural breeding companies and advised big-box retailers on crop performance, genetic selection and product development.
Following his time at Battlefield, Higginbotham worked as global director of horticulture service for lighting-maker Fluence Bioengineering and then cut his teeth in the cannabis industry as vice president of sales and business development at The Hemp Mine, a vertically integrated producer of hemp genetics and hemp-derived products.
He says his move from traditional ag to cannabis has been mostly smooth, though “the lack of validated applied crop production science and false information” is challenging, but Higginbotham’s production increases, as well as the critical acclaim for the cannabis he’s growing at his facilities in Greenfield and Salinas, made all the challenges worth the effort.
How does StateHouse stand apart from other California producers?
Being one of the largest vertical operators in the state of California and having an incredible team has enabled us to not only survive the fluctuations in the market but also continue to thrive with a focus on quality, consistency, innovation and customer service.
What was the most jarring or challenging part of your transition from traditional ag into the cannabis industry?
From a cultivation perspective – the lack of validated applied crop production science and false information. However, for those of us who come from traditional commercial horticulture this also offered great opportunity.
What has been your biggest milestone in the industry thus far?
Working with StateHouse to more than double yields in 2022 over 2021 with reducing cost by ~33% while winning 7 awards between the Emerald Cup and the State Fair in just our first 2 years. However, I can’t mention these accomplishments without mentioning our entire cultivation team which together this was achieved.
If you could go back to a certain point in your career and give yourself some advice, what point would it be and what advice would you give?
It would be when I took on my first job right out of school. Make more time to read/learn at a faster pace and invest in personal and professional development. “The best thing you can invest in for yourself or anyone else is your own personal development.”