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Alberta hemp industry is growing - study says
25
Sep '12
Interest regarding industrial hemp continues to increase within Alberta’s agricultural sector. Not only does the crop grow well in the province, but the increased consumer interest in sustainability and renewable resources suggests that potential markets will emerge for the oil and fibre products derived from hemp.

A recent study completed by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and sponsored by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, provides a detailed overview of the entire industrial hemp value chain within Alberta. It includes a review of the industrial hemp seed and straw uses as well as an analysis of hemp processing systems around the globe.
 
Specific emphasis was placed on developing benchmarks for farm level costs of production. Nevin Rosaasen, research economist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development emphasizes that, “knowing your costs of production and your relative profitability per unit of output is crucial for maintaining the long-term profitability of your farm business.”
 
“As a producer, you need to evaluate and adapt crop production and management information to fit your own operation and above all, make better profit-driven choices,” he adds. “The choices you make and the products and services you invest in must make your operation profitable. You cannot monitor or evaluate the effectiveness of something you do not measure.”
 
While there appears to be a tremendous opportunity for industrial hemp production and processing in Alberta, it is recognized that there have been a number of false starts over the years. Many of the difficulties with industry development stem from the fact that supply chain relationships are not yet fully developed and as a result the industry is unable to fully commit on a longer term basis. The key factor to remedy this situation is finding stable end markets, specifically for fibre based products.
 
There are significant efforts underway to further refine fibre processing technology. These efforts, when combined with those targeting the development of markets for seed, fibre and hurd, will be of critical importance to the sector. If these activities help to either increase competitiveness by reducing cost of production and/or increase potential markets, the benefits to Alberta could be significant.
 
Opportunities can only be realized if advances in the processing and end market development can be combined with increased experience and knowledge of production systems and costs at the farm level. Continued commitment on the part of all stakeholder groups is essential to the success of the Alberta Hemp industry.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development


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