Representatives of New Zealand’s industrial hemp industry are encouraging farmers to move to growing hemp as a way to reduce their impact on the environment.
Chair of the New Zealand Hemp Industry Association Richard Barge says that the hemp industry offers a huge opportunity for New Zealand’s agricultural sector and urges farmers to learn more about hemp at the upcoming iHemp Summit & Expo in Rotorua this May.
“For years now the Government has been pushing for farmers to publicly address their sustainability - from the pollution of waterways to their greenhouse gas emissions. Hemp can help alleviate some of these issues, working to create a smaller environmental footprint.”
Barge says that hemp has impressive cleansing properties which could help tackle polluted farmland and filter runoff that’s going into our waterways.
“Hemp has the natural ability to purify soil and draw toxins from the Earth. It helps to clean and recondition the soil, requiring less pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, leading to an environmentally sustainable use of available farmland. It also helps reduce the pollution and environmental impact on our waterways created by the switch from other land uses, especially when used in crop rotation.”
“Essentially, hemp can help to clean up the messes left behind by poor farming practices. In fact, it’s so effective in cleaning up our messes it was actually used around Chernobyl to help draw out heavy metals from the soil!”
Industrial hemp is used for food, fibre and health products and has been growing in popularity over the past five years.
“Hemp can be grown almost anywhere in any climate - from the deep south to the far north. It is an incredibly strong, fast-growing crop with so much potential. Not only is it naturally resistant to pests and weeds, it’s carbon negative and absorbs approximately four times more carbon dioxide than trees.
“Once grown, hemp can be made into one of 25,000 usable products - from food, medicine, and animal feed, to clothing and hemp concrete.”
Barge says that hemp offers farmers a unique opportunity as an alternative land use and rotation crop to put their farmland to good use and invest in New Zealand’s next billion dollar industry.
“We’re seeing hemp pop up everywhere - as a cover crop for vineyards, through to a way to diversify revenue streams for multi-generational dairy farmers.”
Those who are interested in learning more about industrial hemp are encouraged to contact the New Zealand Hemp Industry Association or attend the iHemp Summit & Expo 2021 in Rotorua 20-22 May 2021 .
For more information visit www.hempsummit.nz.