Farming industrial hemp

The total cropping area across Western Australia during summer 2018-19 was 488 hectares, up from 68 the previous year. 38 of the 64 WA industrial hemp licences are held by farmers in the southwest crn. WA was 2nd only to Tasmania where 1300 hectares are grown under contact for food grade seed and the rest of the plant is wasted.

HempGro, WA Hemp Growers’ co-op, formed 18 April 2018

HempGro, WA Hemp farmers co-op, formed April 2018 from a sub committee of iHempWA, imported 9 tonnes of seed for 2018-19 season and have ordered another 10.5 for 2019 sowing. They received government funding to run regional dry crop agronomy seed cultivar trials and are running a Harvest Survey in conjunction with DPIRD to collect the valuable data from the 79 crops across WA 2018-19.

The Regulators

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Western Australia acts as the Registrar for the Industrial Hemp Act 2004. This legislation enables licensees to cultivate, harvest and process industrial hemp on a commercial scale. http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/plant-biosecurity/industrial-hemp-western-australia

The Depatment of Health via the Office of Drug Control regulate the medical Cannabis industry in Australia. The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 details the regulatory framework that has been put in place to enable applications for licences and permits for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products. https://www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis

WA hemp farmers are currently focused on growing our seed banks for future crops and some seed oil production for body care products. The approval of low-THC hemp seed products to be used as a food additive by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Nov 2017 is wonderful news for the developing hemp industry.

Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report

The Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report was commissioned by the Manjimup Agriculture Expansion Project, jointly steered by Shire of Manjimup, DPIRD, South West Development Commission and the Southern Forests Food Council. The work was completed by Strategy Matrix in 2017-18. The report considers production of hemp fibre and seed, supply chain and markets for hemp products.

It highlights the complexities of hemp variety selection and agronomy, as well as the diverse products that can be produced from hemp. It also considers maximum cartage distances for fibre processing, and issue particular to hemp. WA businesses may leverage our reputation for safe food production and capacity in related industries (oilseeds and agroforestry products) to capture value in this emerging industry.

The report of Stage 1 of the prefeasibility, and a comprehensive draft review of published literature is now available to download. https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/hemp/industrial-hemp-portal?nopaging=1 For enquiries or more information, email your DPIRD Industrial Hemp representative.

FAQ

Can I grow hemp?

What is hemp?

International resources:

Hemp Benchmarks – Monthly American Spot Price Index Report https://www.hempbenchmarks.com/

Prohibition Partners – International Cannabis Weekly https://prohibitionpartners.com/

Hemp Academy – Canadian online education https://manitobaharvest.com/hemp-academy/