Dale Tenhulzen started going to college at the University of Iowa with a dream to go to medical school. He had good grades, but he stopped his college studies when he realized he did not have the finances to continue on the path of becoming a doctor. He moved to San Diego and found he had a talent for fundraising. He worked in fundraising from 1981 to 2008. He helped raise over $300 million for nonprofits, everything from cancer to schools, synagogues, and churches. In those years, he also managed several different companies related to the fundraising business. In 2008 the business died when the economy crashed.
In 2008 Dale got his life insurance license and started a seminar program called the Live Wealthy Institute. He was teaching four different seminars on the topics of tax-free retirement, long-term care protection, using simple interest and compound interest to your advantage by becoming your own bank, and purchasing life settlements, existing life insurance policies at a discount that people don’t want anymore.
Dale has recently moved to Wyoming and has gotten involved in the hemp industry now that growing hemp is legal in Wyoming. There are areas in Wyoming that are ideal places to grow hemp, and Dale has acquired the first licenses in the state to grow hemp and to process hemp through this company, Mother’s Hemp Farms, LLC (MHF).
Dale has also purchased Gluten Free Oats (GFO) in March of 2020 and plans to introduce hemp hearts into the product line and create a high-protein, gluten-free oatmeal mix.
Where did the idea for Mother’s Hemp Farms & Gluten Free Oats come from?
There is a company called Manitoba Harvest which is out of Manitoba, Canada, and they’ve developed a whole line of food with hemp products being the protein source. I saw it being sold in southern California in Costco. I think it is sad that a Canadian company is selling this in the United States, and we need to have an American company come up with hemp products like this. Through my company, Gluten Free Oats, I decided to add hemp to gluten free oats and create high-protein and gluten free meals. My goal is to put Wyoming on the map by creating a mini Manitoba Harvest with oats and hemp grown by Wyoming farmers.
Wyoming farmers have recently lost a lot of money on their sugar beets and barley crops. Companies only wanted 50% of the barley crop this year so Wyoming farmers have really been hurting this year.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I typically get up and go to the farm and make sure the workers are out in the fields, checking the fields. Then I make it to the office and make phone calls and follow up on payroll, invoices, expenses, and then I make my rounds to all of the managers of each department. I go to the mill and check on the mill. Then I go to processing and see how they are doing. Then I’ll go to the warehouse and check inventory and the different managers.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Sometimes I get ideas in the middle of the night. I do my due diligence to see if the idea makes sense. If I think it’s good, I just go for it.
Right now we are having problems with the hemp laws and how they are interpreted in the state of Wyoming, so I have been writing letters to the Department of Agriculture, to the Governor, and I got a phone call back from the Governor’s office. I am just making it happen so that other farmers won’t have to deal with what I’m going through right now with the state regarding interpretation of the regulations on the hemp laws. It is important thing to do. The way it is being interpreted right now, the farmers are going to fail.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about people wanting to eat healthier and eat different proteins versus meat products. People are becoming more health conscious about what they are eating and putting in their bodies.
I am also excited the trend to create a cleaner environment and how the utilization of hemp can add to that. For instance, hemp can be used to create cleaner building materials, such as hempcrete.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I surround myself with people that I feel are influential, smarter people than myself, and good team players.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Respect your elders. Know they have more wisdom and experience, but add your youthfulness to the program.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think that everybody can write their own paycheck, but few people agree with me on that.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn to let go of the stress of everyday life. Turn it off at night when you are done working. Know the difference between what you can control and what you cannot control.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building teams has made all the difference. If you build a team, the machine runs. When we came into this oat business, they would get an order in, they would fulfill it. One day they would be making rolled oats. Then they would get a big order in for flour and they would stop everything and start making flour. But it’s not good to have people standing around and not sure what to do each day. Now you have to clean the machine and prepare for something different, and they would lose an hour or two of productive time.
Now I have built teams and put systems in place to prepare the orders and have them done. Now everything runs fluidly. Now we have a three-week schedule of what will be made each day going forward. It just becomes a fluid machine, and I did that by building teams and keeping them organized. Organization is key.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I am facing the challenge of how the Wyoming laws on hemp are being interpreted which will affect my business and the livelihoods of Wyoming farmers, but I am picking up the phone and explaining to everyone what will happen. I continue to pick myself up and press on. I want to win this for everybody.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My idea for a business is to take the hemp fiber and create a bottle for water that is biodegradable so we can get rid of the plastic water bottles that are destroying the oceans. At this time, there are 2 and ½ garbage loads of plastic bottles that go into the ocean every hour. The technology to create a biodegradable hemp bottle exists, but there are not enough hemp crops yet to make it possible.
For instance, we can make paper towels out of hemp, instead of cutting down trees. But it would take 30,000 acres of hemp to support the companies changing all of their machinery to make the paper towels out of hemp. It will take years before we can do that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I have spent was taking my wife out to dinner on a date night.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use a program called Fishbowl. It is an inventory management system.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
What Color is your Parachute? is a book that helped me to decide what direction I wanted to go in when career changes were necessary for me.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is good because I decided to make it that way.”
• Let’s use hemp since it is sustainable naturally.
• Let go of stress.
• Be creative and make your life good.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.