Hemp has become a common crop among farmers in the past year following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which allows industrial hemp, with THC concentrations less than 0.3 percent, to be grown nationally. We have seen an abundance of our local farmers in the Lancaster County and surrounding areas choose the crop, but why? Below we break out some of the benefits of growing industrial hemp, the sustainability of the crop and the wide array of uses once harvested to help you better understand the move towards hemp.
This History of Hemp
Taking a step back, some would say that our country was founded on the farming of industrial crops, like hemp, back in the early 1700s and 1800s. There are even historical hemp mills and artifacts still standing today in and around the Lancaster County area (learn more of that in last month’s blog here.) But, in the early 1900s, the growing and production of hemp was banned throughout the country due to anti-hemp propaganda which caused confusion between industrial hemp and marijuana. It wasn’t until the recent Farm Bill that hemp was re-instated as an approved agricultural crop for farming, the beginning of the new hemp revolution.
The Benefits of Hemp
Not only is the hemp plant extremely fibrous, making it perfect for fabrics and other cloth goods, but it also contains natural cannabinoids which can be extracted from the plant matter and used in an assortment of supplements, topicals and oils.
The Sustainability of Hemp
Today, more than ever, both farmers and consumers are conscious of their sustainability practices and how they can increase their environmental sustainability impact. Industrial hemp is an incredibly sustainable crop compared to cotton and other domestic crops. For starters, it requires one-third of the amount of water than traditional crops and can produce much higher yields in short periods of time; this basically means that more can be produced with less. The hemp plant is also a durable crop, meaning it’s more resistant to pests naturally, requiring significantly less chemicals and treatments during the growing period. It even “gives back” to the fields, returning nutrients to the soil during its growth and prepping the soil for next season’s crop.
The Uses of Hemp
The uses and outlets for industrial hemp are endless and the current markets only scratch the surface. It is truly a “zero waste” crop with potential uses and outlets for every part of the plant. While oils are the most common and talked about uses today, the fibrous plant matter itself can be made into cloth, paper, plastics, fuel and even building materials. The seeds of the hemp plant are known to be high in protein, fiber and omega-3 and the oil from these seeds can be extracted and used as an additive like in our Hemp Tea.
At Chiques Creek, we are proud to be a part of the revival of the hemp industry. Full a full look at the history of hemp in Pennsylvania in particular, you can check out our Hemp Q&A page and make sure to follow us @chiquescreek on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with us!