Tuesday, 03 December 2019 13:55

Hemp growers aiming high

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Dave Jordan, HempFarm NZ chief executive and founder director. Dave Jordan, HempFarm NZ chief executive and founder director.

New regulatory changes are forcing some horticulture and dairy farmers to look at a new crop – hemp.

About 1300ha are now assigned by growers across New Zealand for the 2020 hemp crop.

HempFarm NZ founder Dave Jordan hopes the 2021 crop will increase four-fold.

“Who knows, it could be more if we can sell our story well to the New Zealand public and business sector,” Jordan told Rural News.

He says hemp cultivation has good environmental credentials: it requires much less water than most crops.

“I think our industry will get a lot of support on water use once it is seen for what it really is: a must grow crop that uses a lot less water than many other crops.”

A new processing plant is planned for Christchurch next year to supply hemp and hemp/wool blended yarns, non-woven materials for eco-plastics, hemp matting and insulation and other products.

HempFarm NZ is funded by private equity. Jordan is ruling out a public listing anytime soon.

“Any talk of a listing is premature at this stage as we are so focused on setting up our infrastructure and supply chains,” he said. “We do not have anything to add about when or if a public listing would take place.”

Jordan says the benefits of a booming hemp sector will extend to construction, food and agriculture.

“The wonderful thing about hemp is that it’s bigger than any sector because it fits with every other sector and helps reach the sustainable and compliance challenges every sector is facing. 

“Yes, we are expecting to set aside more land for hemp cultivation, and to pushing the limits matching markets with cropping -- pushing and urging markets to buy into the industry by purchasing products.”

Jordan is urging more farmers to give hemp cultivation a try.

“Be a part of a new industry that offers many options by way of planting, harvesting and choices in the value chain and markets. 

“Other advice would be to consider the infrastructure required. There are so many variables and challenges to be learnt no matter how good a cropper you are.”

Wairarapa farmer Richard Kershaw, Moiki Farms, says hemp cultivation looks promising at this stage compared to other conventional crops such as wheat, barley, and ryegrass seed.

Asked about its financial viability, Kershaw says he won’t know until the 2020 crop is harvested.

Jenny Ridd, JJ Farming, will harvest her third crop in February next year.

She says consumer understanding of the health benefits is growing quickly and they are confident there will be huge consumer demand as awareness of the multiple benefits and uses grows.

“We totally believe it is a great crop for the environment and it fits in with our farming strategy. There is much to learn. This year we installed a drying facility and each year we continue to improve.”

More like this

Italian innovation helps Zespri

Italian kiwifruit packhouses' experience in dealing with COVID-19 has helped New Zealand to fast-track innovation in its own packhouses to deal with stringent new safety regulations.

NZ blackcurrant sales surge

A UK-based company, believed to be the single biggest exporter of New Zealand blackcurrant product, has seen “very strong” sales as consumers in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic seek healthy dietary supplements.

Grower urges people to eat their veges

A big Canterbury vegetable grower is hoping people’s buying patterns get back to normal and quickly after the upheavals of the last couple of weeks.

Featured

ANZCO makes a $30m profit

Meat company ANZCO Foods recorded its best-ever revenue of $1.7b and a net profit before tax of $30.6m for the year ended 31 December 2019.

 

M. bovis – we’re making headway

Ministry for Primary Industries chief science adviser, Dr John Roche on the indications New Zealand is winning the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Drop in payout looms

Dairy farmers are being told to brace for a big drop in milk payout next season.