Business calls for farmers to grow hemp
A LISMORE agribusiness is seeing serious potential in hemp, and encouraging Northern Rivers farmers to become part of the growing industry.
Broadleaf Hemp will be manufacturing hempcrete, a product used to make fire-retardant walls in residential buildings.
They have worked with 20 local farmers over the past two years to determine which hemp species thrive in local conditions.
Armed with knowledge and industry contacts, they now need farmers who have plenty of land to grow the product.
They are also looking for building partners who would like to build with their hempcrete.
"We want the farmers to call us, we will consult with them, give them the seed and sell it for them," Broadleaf Hemp managing director Dylan Wood said.
"We need to bring in more farmland now. We need farmers with significant acreage to get on board."
There are environmental benefits of growing hemp instead of trees for housing as it takes just three to four months to produce.
"Hemp uses significantly less water, pesticides and herbicides than traditional agricultural crops," Mr Wood said.
Planning laws for bushfire protection are currently being reviewed, and Mr Wood would like to see hempcrete in the picture.
"Building fireproof homes will allow us to protect against future fires and assist in the recovery from the bushfire crisis," Mr Wood said.
"We think all houses in bushfire-prone areas should be made out of hempcrete, and we think the Australian Standards Code should be upgraded to include this."
Hempcrete continues to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, sequestering carbon dioxide for hundreds of years after building and becoming denser over time.
Hempcrete has also shown to be mould and flood resistant, also hypo-allergenic for low-allergy housing.
If you would like to grow hemp, please contact Broadleaf Hemp via the website.