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State

Advocates showcase hemp as multiuse crop

Industrial hemp grows in a greenhouse on the farm operated by Trent Lawrence and his wife, Jami, near Delavan. Some community colleges and four-year universities in Illinois are exploring the possibility of launching educational programs to train people in the business of growing and marketing marijuana
Industrial hemp grows in a greenhouse on the farm operated by Trent Lawrence and his wife, Jami, near Delavan. Some community colleges and four-year universities in Illinois are exploring the possibility of launching educational programs to train people in the business of growing and marketing marijuana

DECATUR – The National Hemp Association showcased the versatility of hemp during the recent Farm Progress Show in central Illinois.

Representatives of the hemp association used the event that ran Tuesday through Thursday to demonstrate how hemp can be used in dietary supplements and body care products, but that it also has industrial applications, the Herald & Review in Decatur reported.

Industrial uses for hemp include textiles, automotive, aviation and energy storage, building materials and paper, Geoff Whaling, chairman of the association, said.

Hemp provides an excellent natural alternative to cotton, which is the most widely used raw material for textile production, Whaling said. The automotive and aviation industries can use hemp bio-composites in multiple applications such as door panels, window pillars, package trays, truck liners and luggage racks.

These bio-composites are cheaper and reduce fuel consumption when used in place of fiberglass composites, according to the National Hemp Association.

Cameron McIntosh was touting Hempcrete, a bio-composite material that he said is resistant to mold, mildew and pests and can be used for insulation. McIntosh is the president and principal owner of Americhanvre, a hempcrete installation company.

“You’re trapping the carbon inside rather than creating more so this is more environmentally friendly,” McIntosh said. “It really improves the quality of life within the structure as well because it is managing the moisture and humidity.”

The 2018 Farm Bill permitted industrial hemp farming for the first time in the U.S., but Whaling said some people have been resistant to hemp as a crop because they struggle to differentiate between hemp and its close cousin, marijuana.

“Hemp is cannabis, but it is not marijuana. Marijuana has THC, whereas hemp does not,” he said.

Sam Kupferschmid, a 32-year-old Bloomington corn and soybean farmer, said he is considering growing hemp.

“As a grower in the market I like to come and check out what is the latest and greatest,” Kupferschmid said. “I’d like to get educated on [hemp] more.”

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