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.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I have always been independent minded and liked working for myself. My father passed away when I was 13 and I was the only one at home and so I had to step up and be more responsible. I started my own business mowing yards and selling sweet corn door to door in Iowa. I’ve always considered myself to be unemployable because I am entrepreneurial type and a risktaker. I have had to recreate myself many times over. Now I am proud to be the largest hemp producer, as far as I understand, in the state of Wyoming.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love the benefits of hemp for every human and for the atmosphere: The lack of pollution, and the regeneration, and the complexity of the plant that provides medicine, food, oils, to industrial uses.
We can make biodegradable bottles from hemp and stop using plastic bottles. We can make paper out of hemp and stop cutting down so many trees.
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by challenges and by being involved in something that will benefit individuals. By getting involved with hemp in Wyoming, the farmers here are in dire straits for a new crop because they keep losing money with sugar beets and barley crops. I am excited about being able to give them a dual crop of oats and hemp and help the local farmers get back on their feet.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My best friend, Chris Davis, has been a role model to me. He owns a financial institution that loans money, is a billing company, and also is a collection agency, all in one. His company finances different things like truck driving school, dental implants, real estate seminars, etc. I have always looked up to him for guidance, and he has always been my mentor. We were neighbors back in San Diego over 22 years ago, and we’re still friends today. He’s probably 15 years older than I am. He always had a lot of creative business ideas.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I work hard and smart during the day, but at the end of the day, I turn it off and relax. That keeps my stress levels down. I was raised by my mom, and she was always very calm, so I just followed her traits.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
I lead by example. I am a people person and I am always trying to help.
I am very confident when I am presenting information about a product or the benefits it provides. When I used to do presentations regularly, I would study and study. I set up a studio in my garage and I’d record myself and repeat it to the point where I knew it inside and out so people would follow me.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
I have had the loss of career opportunities as the economy has changed. I have learned to adapt and re-create myself. One of my sisters says I am one of the most resilient people she has ever known in her life.
I also gave up my dream to go to medical school. I could have gotten into school, but I would have had to borrow a lot of money and I just was not comfortable with that. I was told I could have the loans paid off by the time I was 35, but at the age of 21 that did not seem like a good option to me.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I feel like my biggest accomplishment is what I am doing right now with introducing oats and hemp products. One of my partners is talking to a group out of Morocco. Morocco is the gateway to food from Europe through Africa. They connect with 200 million people. They’re interested in us coming up with a product that is oats and the hemp protein to send to poor villages. If you send a cow, they don’t have enough food or water to feed cattle. To grow soybeans, they don’t have enough water or land. They want a product that’s already completed. We have what’s called a Go Pack. It’s like instant oatmeal, but it will be oatmeal and hemp in there for protein for food. They can live on that because it has carbs and protein. This company could explode. Another great accomplishment of mine was marrying my wife two years ago. She has been so supportive during her time with me. I feel incredibly lucky to have her by my side.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
I would like to be the largest hemp producing company in the state of Wyoming. This would be industrial hemp. I would like to work on creating hempcrete because concrete is the number two resource that we need as humans today. Number one is water. Number two is concrete. The process of making concrete creates pollution. With concrete made from hemp, there is no pollution. There is a product inside the stem that’s called hurd, and you add the hurd with lime and it creates concrete. It will be much lighter plus it has an R36 rating for insulation. It absorbs CO2 in the air, and it stands up to eight hours of fire.