New Alberta processor could make a material difference to hemp farmers

A hemp field in Leduc County.

A hemp field in Leduc County.

Photograph by: Supplied/Rachel Peterson , Edmonton Journal

Alberta’s hemp farmers toil in relative obscurity compared to their better-known grain and oilseed colleagues, but new technology being developed near Edmonton could change that.
The Hart Fibre Trade Company, a hemp-fibre processor based in Leduc County, is introducing the first Canadian scutched hemp processing system — a way of straightening the plant’s fibres so it can be used to make textiles. Hemp is considered an alternative to cotton.
The company accepted funding of $938,000 on Wednesday to speed development. The money comes from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year $163-million program to boost agriculture’s competitiveness and adaptability.
“There is high demand for value-added hemp textiles in overseas markets, and this innovative process will help farmers capture more value from their crop while opening the doors to potential new markets,” said Edmonton-Leduc MP James Rajotte, who announced the funding.
Acreage for hemp production in Canada has nearly doubled over the past year, with a projected target of 100,000 acres by 2015, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
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