HomeNewsOSU Scores Hemp Industry Development Grant

OSU Scores Hemp Industry Development Grant

Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center has received a $10 million grant to work with 13 Native American Tribes and other stakeholders in developing manufacturing capabilities for hemp materials and products.

The USA’s 2018 Farm Bill legalised hemp and recognised the crop as an agricultural commodity like any other. This initially resulted in a flurry of planting, mainly driven by demand for cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. But a glut of CBD biomass drove down prices and by 2020, hemp production had quickly dropped off.

But industrial hemp has many uses besides CBD, with potential to replace materials manufactured using fossil fuels.

“There is still significant interest and potential in industrial uses of hemp,” said Jeffrey Steiner, director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center. “But it’s critical that investment decisions be based on sound science and business planning to build out and scale up economic development opportunities with hemp, particularly to benefit Tribal nations and other American rural communities.”

OSU is partnering with the Tribal nations within the geographical boundaries of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Montana and California for the initiative, along with other organisations, agencies and universities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the project seeks to develop sustainable supply chains based on the needs identified.

The project has four objectives:

  • Support the development of an intertribal biomanufacturing consortium led by Native Americans, plus establish regional business trading networks.
  • Provide education and engagement opportunities for tribal communities through school curriculum, student internship and mentorship opportunities, and presenting related opportunities to tribal decision makers.
  • Determine optimal and sustainable manufacturing technologies, processes and pipelines for hemp-based materials and products meeting end-product market specifications.
  • Optimize hemp breeding, field production, harvest and handling, and processing systems.

In other recent related news, Oregon State University and the USDA have collaborated to develop the Hemp Research Needs Roadmap. Released last week, it identifies the four areas of greatest need in the USA’s hemp industry, being:

  • Breeding and genetics
  • Best practices for production
  • Biobased products manufacturing for end-uses
  • Transparency and consistency

The Global Hemp Innovation Center was launched in 2018 with a mission to advance the state’s crop production and post-harvest industries. Claimed to be the largest comprehensive hemp research center in the nation, OSU was also the site of the country’s only hemp research center from the 1880s to the 1930s, when it previously known as Oregon Agricultural College.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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