Economic Considerations for Growing Industrial Hemp:
For the United States and especially US farmers, hemp has the potential to be the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet. The fibre from hemp could be used in everything from pulp-and-paper to textiles. Sadly, nearly 80 years ago, the government’s marijuana paranoia cost this country a cash crop of boundless potential. when hemp, a benign super-plant became a casualty of United States war on drugs.
Many farming organization and association worked hard to restore hemp, because of its potential to not only give US farmers an economic edge, but also farmers planting help also save the environment.
Hemp literally grows like a weed. It can reach or exceed 20 feet in height during our short growing season. It produces biomass–usable plant material–like nothing else and researchers have yet to identify a pest threat to hemp.
Hemp is truly a super crop as it’s early season vigor allows it to out-compete weeds. So unlike cereal crops, hemp is organic, requiring no pesticide applications.
Hemp could also replace cotton, which requires large applications of pesticides. Hemp could also replace glass fibre, which is used in the making of composite materials, like plastics for the automotive industry.
The hemp plant has been cultivated for more than 8,000 years. Its plant fibers were used in everything from clothes to shoes to rope. Its seed oil is rich in health Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midland Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, “Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois,” about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.
* When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
* 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.
These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.
In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.
2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.
3. Twenty-five tons of hemp hurd fiber. Hemp hurd fiber makes all grades of paper, composite building materials, animal bedding and a material for the absorption of liquids and oils.
4. The deep tap root draws up sub-soil nutrients and then, when the leaves fall from the plant to the ground, they return these nutrients to the top soil for the next crop rotation.
5. The residual flowers, after the seeds are extracted, produce valuable medicines.
Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture.
While marijuana is prohibited, industrial hemp will be economically prohibitive due to the artificial regulatory burdens imposed by the prohibition of marijuana. When marijuana and cannabis are legally regulated, industrial hemp will return to its rightful place in our agricultural economy.
Hemp may be the plant that started humans down the road toward civilization with the invention of agriculture itself. All archaeologists agree that cannabis was among the first crops purposely cultivated by human beings at least over 6,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 12,000 years ago.
Restoring industrial hemp to its rightful place in agriculture today will return much control to our farmers, and away from the multinational corporations that dominate our political process and destroy our environment. These capital-intensive, non-sustainable, and environmentally destructive industries have usurped our economic resources and clear-cut huge tracts of the world’s forests, given us massive oil spills, wars, toxic waste, massive worldwide pollution, global warming and the destruction of entire ecosystems.
Prohibiting the cultivation of this ancient plant, the most productive source of fiber, oil and protein on our planet, is evil. In its place we have industries that give us processes and products that have led to unprecedented ecological crisis and worldwide destruction of the biological heritage that we should bequeath to our children, grandchildren and future generations.
Hemp legalization is huge benefit to US farmers and the overall economy. It’s also a benefit to individual farmers because hemp has the potential to be a very lucrative crop. Farmers in the US have long looked for cash producing crops. They want something they can finally start making money growing, and hemp provides US farmers with that opportunity. Up until 2019, hemp farming has been a niche market. However, with hemp now being legal to grow in the US, working with the auto, buildings, and textiles industries could means US farmers get a much larger volume of materials produced, re-establish hemp as a valuable crop to US farming economics.
The hemp that can be grown in the US is strictly industrial hemp, and can only contain less than 0.3 per cent THC. Such a low amount of chemical in industrial hemp should take the negative drug associations out of the industry.
We work with hemp farmers to develop new cultivars and new agricultural practices. The key is having a high yield plant and adapted to your farms climate conditions. We then work with a processor to take the hemp stock to, and process it and prepare for sale. Ideally all research, farming, and processing of the fibers will done locally keeping jobs and revenue within your local community.
Industrial hemp grown in Alberta can be used in a number of products ranging anywhere from textiles to fibreglass. Products made from hemp have less environmental impact than those made from glass or plastics, and in many cases are more energy efficient.
Bio composites produced from hemp are more environmentally friendly. Replacing glass fibre with bio-fibre produces a much lighter product. A lighter product means that your car, boat, or airplane is lighter and uses less fuel. High-end European car manufacturers, particularly German manufacturers, use bio-composites in their panels,