On October 17, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced a $200,000 grant program to award organizations striving to promote hemp.
The department aims to award grant funds to reimburse “half of project costs,” with a minimum grant amount of $1,000. Special consideration will be given to applicants who “leverage other funding and private partnerships.”
“Hemp has presented a unique opportunity to grow an industry from the ground up, supplying seemingly limitless sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products,” Redding said in a press release. “These grants will feed a new industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for farm income and jobs as well as new possibilities for climate-friendly, environmentally beneficial products.”
Applicants are required to have started on or after July 1, 2022 and completed by June 30, 2023 (although the application window ends on December 2).
This is a slight increase from the department’s grant total of $157,735 in 2021, which was used to fund three different projects to boost hemp product awareness as a useful fiber and food: Don Services for hemp as a building material, Team Pennsylvania (also the host of the Pennsylvania Hemp Summit) spearheads education, and Urban Affairs Coalition All Together Now PA, which promoted hemp education as well.
The press release praised Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration for its support and development of the state’s hemp program. In July at the Pennsylvania Hemp Summit, the state agricultural department announced a $460,000 program to help hemp cultivators and other unique crops through Specialty Crop Block Grants. “We are building a new industry, literally from the ground up,” Redding said at the event.
Back in 2019, Wolf also signed the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, which provided “strategic investments” in state agriculture, and noted the inclusion of hemp as an animal feed.
In other hemp news, tiny homes were created in Europe by Margent Farms using corrugated hemp sheets. The surprisingly spacious two-story homes were created with sustainability, affordability, and design consciousness in mind. “The fibres sequester carbon, locking it in and stopping it releasing back into the atmosphere, resulting in a very low-carbon product. The high cellulose content (60–70%) of the plant makes it a very strong and durable material. The sheet is bound with a sugar based resin made entirely from agricultural waste. Our hemp sheets are a natural alternative to corrugated steel, PVC, bitumen and cement,” the construction company said on its website.
Earlier this summer, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill to remove hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances. “Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry and giving North Carolina farmers certainty that they can continue to participate in this growing market is the right thing to do for rural communities and our economy,” Cooper said in a press release.
A hemp-focused museum exhibit debuted in June in Barcelona, spotlighting the unique uses of hemp as an important trade crop and source of income for merchants in Japan. Called “Cannabis Japonica,” unique clothing samples and literature are on display through February 2023.
Japan is undergoing its own cannabis renaissance as well. While cannabis is strictly regulated, the country’s health officials are proposing that medical cannabis be legalized to align its regulation with other major countries.
A new report from Technavio examined the global industrial hemp market, and projects that the industry could grow up to $6.47 billion in value between 2021 and 2026. Specifically, the report suggests that the leading hemp product will be textiles. “The industrial hemp market share growth in the textile segment will be significant during the forecast period. Hemp fibers possess significant properties, such as high absorption capacity and good thermal and electrical properties, like low static electricity charge and high heat of sorption,” the report states. “Hence, hemp is used in the manufacture of apparel, fabrics, denim, and fine textiles, thus increasing the demand for hemp in the textile segment. Therefore, owing to these factors, the textile segment of the market in focus is expected to grow during the forecast period.”
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