W. Canadian Hemp Acres Could be High as a Kite!

W. Canadian Hemp Acres Could be High as a Kite!
Posted by FoM on April 23, 1999 at 21:47:21 PT
Source: Drug Sense
WinnipegGood returns to pioneer hemp producers and depressed prices for traditional crops like canola and wheat are fuelling dramatic growth in that crop's production on the Western Canadian prairies according to industry watchers.
Bruce Brolley, a new crops specialist with the Manitoba provincial agriculture department, says he's estimating about 15,000 acres will be planted in the province this spring - only the second year producers can legally plant the crop.That's up from approximately 1,300 acres last summer. The explosive growth concerns Brolley, who says it's important that any production jump be offset with market development. "There's an old saying that nothing fixes high prices like high prices - - people see a strong market and they jump in to service it," Brolley said. "We want to make sure we're developing a sustainable industry and if we grow slowly we've got a better chance than by jumping from 1,300 to 15,000 acres in one year."Brolley also expressed concern that markets that have been touted for the crop may fail to materialize."I'm not sure these potential markets will turn into actual [ones]," he said. Part of the Manitoba growth in hemp is fuelled by a recent announcement by Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), a company contracting hemp acreage with producers, that they would be building a hemp processing facility near the city of Dauphin in northwestern Manitoba. Doug Campbell, president of CGP, says the company will be increasing it's contracted acreage substantially in the three prairie provinces this spring. "We had about 600 acres (under contract) last year," he said. "We're going to have over 18,000 acres this year. That works out to a 300-fold increase."Campbell says about 80% of those acres have been contracted in Manitoba, with the remainder in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Of the Manitoba acreage Campbell says the lion's share will be within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the plant site. With the CGP plant announcement, it's expected most of the growth in new acreage will concentrate in the province of Manitoba, Brolley said. Campbell agrees that at least in the short term that's where the growth will be, but says the other prairie provinces shouldn't be counted out yet."It's not that producers there can't grow the stuff," he said. "It's just been a little slower to take off." Ray McVicar, a new crops specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) in Regina, says he's expecting somewhere between 3,000 and 4, 000 acres to be planted in that province. That's up from an estimated 500 acres last year. In Alberta Dr. Stan Blade, a spokesman for Alberta Agriculture, says roughly 2,500 acres of hemp are expected to go into the grounnd this spring. Campbell downplays concerns about market instability that could accompany quick growth, saying CGP has large scale customers lined up for its processed products.End uses for the product include fiber going into pulp and paper, cardboard manufacturing, auto parts and building materials. A separate facility at the same Dauphin site will be dedicated to producing oil for the food and cosmetic markets."There's tremendous opportunity in the big world-scale markets," Campbell said.The Dauphin plant is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2001, though Campbell says there is a chance construction will be completed by 2000.
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: