WV Hemp: The Importance of Local Food

There has been a lot of interest in 2016 surrounding Cannabis Sativa L (industrial hemp) being grown in West Virginia legally – under section 7606 of the Farm Bill (2014). Although it is a great stride to progress this new industry – it honestly does not matter in the context of society if the products are not going to market, and the farmers growing in West Virginia are investing with the hopes that a proof of concept can be shown. That we can, in fact, grow this new industry for farmers and the economy of our state alike.

There are already hemp products being sold locally throughout West Virginia – Chinese twine, Chinese clothing blends, Nepali textiles, Canadian foods, ect. The problem with imported products is that they consequently require more energy, time, and money during transportation. Domestic business makes sense, most of the time, but sometimes businesses would rather side with economy of scale whenever importing their supply of products as opposed to sourcing domestically. And with textiles, this may be okay going into the third year of hemp production in the United States while supply chains are being developed.

BUT, it does not make sense to source hemp foods from anywhere other than domestically. By being a hemp advocate or business person in the United States, to directly compete with domestic farmers is contradictory to the sustainable advocacy the entire industry has begun to adopt. How can we expect this industry to flourish, if business scattered throughout the United States are supporting foreign farmers instead of the farmer down the road?

If you carry food products in your store, or if you would like to learn where to obtain hemp food sourced from the Appalachian region, such as hemp seed, hemp hearts, hemp oil, hemp protein, etc., send us an email at wvfarmerscoop@gmail.com – we would be happy to direct you!

 

 

The DEA’s New Action on CBD

Attention 7606 State Licensed Hemp Farmers:

The DEA Rule on “Marihuana Extract” does NOT apply to you.

Carry on in your efforts to rebuild the American economy.

“…the DEA’s final rule regarding “Marihuana Extract” not only contradicts its own rulemaking authority …, but also explicitly conflicts with the Spending Bill provisions enacted by Congress, which disallows the DEA from expending resources that conflict with the Farm Bill.”

“Importantly, the Farm Bill specifies that the entire “industrial hemp” plant is made lawful, in spite of, or notwithstanding, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). As such, it expressly carves out an exception to the CSA for the entire industrial hemp plant and products/extracts therefrom. Id.”

Industrial Hemp is regulated by the Farm Bill, and NOT a Schedule I drug subject to DEA enforcement. Hemp may be legally cultivated, processed, transported and sold by 7606 licensed hemp farmers.

Thank you to the Hoban Law Group for addressing this issue here.

Hemp: No Waste

Industrial hemp is quite utile, ideal for settlers colonizing a new nation. Every part of the plant can be processed into a value added product. Don Smith II, a board member of ours, loves to say, “nothing is wasted besides the breeze through the leaves”, and we love it too.

This is essential in an age where efficiency really matters in production. Let’s begin with the roots, which contain triterpenoids documented to have medicinal benefits for thousands of years. If the plants are not sown as far as you can see, perhaps there is pruning and grooming of the industrial hemp for better yields. Besides pulling weeds, the cuttings obtained from pruning could be ‘cloned’ to reproduce a new feminized plants hemp plants – to maximize flower potential.

The stalk is made from bast and hurd fiber, and the fibers could fall under any of these categories to utilize the waste: paper, insulation, hempcrete, rope, bioplastics, composites, all textiles and canvas, or even activated charcoal and super capacitor batteries in advanced manufacturing. Once the fiber is cleaned and separated, even the particles can be swept off of the floor for utilization as a byproduct.

The seed and the flower blossom from cannabis and perform like it was made for us. Hemp seed contains protein and omega’s that perform like creatine for athletes, or like fish oil pills for adults with rheumatism. Hemp seed oil has even been used to treat skin conditions where oil deficiency is an issue, besides the fact it is labeled as a superfood. The flower is very interesting because we have an endocannabinoid system to deliver the medicine, and this is where the cannabinoids blossom as trichomes. Industrial hemp varieties do have terpene profiles, but CBD is the prominent cannabinoid industrial hemp is grown for. Although the research is evident for CBD’s medical potential, the FDA advised that you DO NOT make medicinal claims when selling CBD and it must be sold as a nutritional supplement.

Hopefully this changes in the future and CBD can sweep through people that it would help, and industrial hemp can provide opportunity to those who need it most.

 

Bioplastics, Hemp, and the United States

Plastic production in the United States heavily relies on fossil fuels, giving the industry a relatively large carbon footprint. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data from 2010, 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas was used in petroplastic production, along with 190 million barrels of hydrocarbon gas liquids (this is a byproduct of oil and gas refinement). The trading of fossil fuels internationally compromises U.S. economic power in exchange for this resource.

Large scale utilization of bioplastics (plastic made from renewable resources like biomass) would significantly decrease US foreign fossil fuel consumption, aiding in the goal of fossil fuel independence and possibly lead to a reduction in US military presence worldwide.  Furthermore, bioplastics would decrease our national carbon footprint even more since the biomass used to produce the plastic sequesters carbon dioxide.  Many bioplastics are fully biodegradable, and would not accumulate in the environment like plastic pollution that currently plagues our land and oceans.

New greener technologies will replace old dirty industries and will provide new jobs to replace and diversify the economy.  As a fast growing plant and source of biomass, Hemp will play a huge part in this green revolution.  Biofuels, biomass, timber, pseudo-graphene super materials, nutraceuticals, construction, soil remediation, and bioplastics are just some of the areas hemp could potentially clean up. Hemp fibers have been used in plastic composite materials that are used in the construction and automotive industry. Research from Alberta Canada shows graphene-like carbon nanosheets made from hemp can perform well as a super capacitor battery.

If you live in America and want to directly show your support for industrial hemp to your representatives, go to VoteHemp to contact your representatives.

WV Hemp: The Complication of an Emerging Industry

The federal Farm Bill revived the Industrial Hemp Development Act in West Virginia, and ever since then the new agricultural commodity has been trying to get it’s wings not only in West Virginia, but around the United States.

We get asked for market figures. The West Virginia hemp industry is barely in it’s infancy, and considering the lack of production and manufacturing within the state, the only real numbers coming out of West Virginia in 2016 are expenses and data for future industry.

There has been a catch 22 scenario involving farmers who want to know their market before they farm, and also with businesspeople who are wanting to know the production details before they negotiate. Finalizing deals during this R&D phase is complicated. Another catch 22 is that some people plunge into the market too early, and others are so conservative that they watch the opportunity drive right on by.

Our approach to this challenge is putting one foot in front of the other to diligently move the West Virginia hemp industry forward while pooling resources and distributing wealth in the process. 2016 was a huge year in terms of getting the ball rolling, but not huge in terms of production numbers. The cooperative model is poised to streamline West Virginia development in this field, so as the production numbers begin to rise, so will the cooperative members’ careers.

There are many factors to be considered when discussing job creation in a new emerging industry, and there’s no better way to get a clear idea of what’s going on than to cooperate with other individuals who share a similar vision with you.

Email wvhfc.inc@gmail.com for inquiries!

 

 

 

Hemp: Educate, Innovate, Cultivate

What if someone told you that the Cannabis Sativa L plant could feed, clothe, shelter, and provide medicine and energy for our society?

That is the tip of the iceberg whenever it comes to this plant’s full integration potential into our society, and it is a nightmare for big business in multiple ways. Petroleum industries in particular are in trouble due to hemp being cellulose rich and having potential to integrate into the plastics industry, which has already begun in multiple countries. The nano crystalline cellulose from hemp can be manufactured into a two dimensional carbon nano sheet that has very similar properties to graphene, having applications in areas such as super capacitors, quantum computing, biotech, and solar technology.

Hemp can also have applications in biofuels as it can efficiently produce ethanol, biodiesel, and other biofuel blends. The oil from hemp seed, however, could run your car, or your body. You can get all omega three, six, and nines from hemp seed oil. Eating hemp seed is also a good source of protein and fiber, leading to it’s consensus as a super food.

Oh, and that is not the only type of fiber in the plant. There are two types of fibers, the hurd (shiv) and the bast. The hurd fiber has potential application in bioplastics, biocomposites, building material concrete, insulation, animal bedding, ect. The bast fibers lead to the coining of the word, “canvas”, which was derived from cannabis, leading it’s use for thousands of years in clothing, ropes, bags, ect. These fibers can also be burnt as biomass, or integrated into technology sectors such as activated charcoal and graphene technologies.

There are cannabinoids and terpenes produced in the trichomes in the tops of the plant that can be used in wide varieties of medical practices, and triterpenoids in the roots that can also be used as herbal medicine. Hemp phytoremediates contaminated soils, uses much less water to grow than corn, soybean, and cotton, and it doesn’t need herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides to grow successfully; hemp does all of this while producing more material in it’s twelve or so feet of sun stretching life. With all of this potential, it gives us some hope in a sustainable future. Big business better look out for the, some say, inevitable farming revolution to come.

 

How We’re Going to Help WV Farmers

Our company was formed in 2015 as the WV Hemp Farmer’s Cooperative, Inc. and we believed we were specializing in a new emerging industry that included a cash crop. We were not wrong, but what we realized is that we actually limited our capacity to help all farmers in West Virginia.

We’re working on rebranding our company and mission to encompass all farmers and gardeners to cooperate collectively on getting West Virginia products on shelves. A key component of this includes developing industrial hemp supply chains, and apart of our mission in this is to educate communities and officials about the potential hemp has to prop our economy in an environmental and profitable way. This includes attracting farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and other downstream businesses to join our cooperative to build West Virginia agriculture by sharing resources, knowledge, and networks.

This year we assisted research and development along side the private sector, university research, and state governments. Although a successful first year and generating a lot of interest, we experienced some inefficiencies that taught us how to improve future operations. One of these inefficiencies included our farmer’s seed source being imported from Canada and Italy. Heirloom seeds need to be explored as an option for hemp seed because it is cheaper and the genetics are tailored to the environment already, as opposed to imported seeds, for example.

It is a process, but an imperative one for our state’s budget, our health, and our farmers’ jobs! In 2017, we will be largely participating in WV’s hemp pilot program, as well as bringing on other farmers and downstream businesses. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or would like to talk in more detail about how we may be able to help you. Thanks for reading.

 

What is a Cooperative?

co-operative (also known as co-op, cooperative or coop) is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business.

Why did we chose to develop the hemp industry through this model?

Well, in an emerging industry or any emerging business, there are gaps to be filled. Working in cooperation with other individuals with similar goals allow for the pooling of resources including financial, knowledge, land, infrastructure, and network expansions.

The environmental and economic potential is great in the context of the many uses of hemp. The potential is so great that we would like to see the growth potential include farmers, and others with patronage within the cooperative to experience this growth first hand. We can diversify the gains and prevent a small circle from capitalizing on the hemp industry’s future growth.

WV Hemp: Spurring Innovation

West Virginia has it’s fair share of unhealthy, uneducated, and impoverished citizens. There is a hope and a necessity to create opportunities to lift citizens in society to a point of economic freedom and healthy living. There is a need to incubate innovation districts with industrial hemp.

Innovation districts are referred to as geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. Is this how West Virginia operates? Do the anchor institutions in West Virginia network with communities to develop in cooperation with their environments across the board?

I would say they are in the minority. To incubate innovation districts, companies need to aggregate and concentrate their energy on developing the bigger picture on a regional basis as opposed to just focusing on the traditional for profit business model. That is why we’re so awesome!

The West Virginia Hemp Farmer’s Cooperative is working to create and nurture West Virginia innovation districts by creating opportunities in industrial hemp markets. This does not just include farming opportunities, but it includes spinoff industries such as textiles, food, brewing, bio fuel, bio plastics, remediation of land, and medicine. As the hemp industry grows into it’s market potential, innovation districts in West Virginia need to be created to support this growth potential.

WV Hemp: Market Potential Opportunity

You’re growing marijuana? No? Well, what do you do with hemp? How much money do you make an acre? Who buys it? These are all questions worth asking, and I want to try to paint an accurate picture of West Virginia’s role in the development of hemp industries.

There are hemp companies worth millions of dollars in North America, but they’re in the minirity such as Dr. Bronner’s or Canadian seed companies. They’re in the minority because America is stuck currently in a research and development phase, with emphasis on the development part. Ideas and companies are forming around this emerging industry rapidly as the market is not saturated yet because it’s not even fully developed. 

There is a grand opportunity to capitalize on an emerging market, and you could speed up the development process by developing your entrepreneurial idea!