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AHC President’s Report – August 2022

Over the last month we have discovered some fantastic developments within the hemp industry in Australia.

Queensland Hemp Association AGM
Last week Queensland Hemp Association annual general was held in Brisbane which was well attended by local industry stakeholders. A record of the meeting will be available soon on the QHA’s website. Some key points included the objective of the Association to have the QLD government enact hemp legislation for the state. Currently QLD is the only state that has the hemp industry under the Misuse of Drug Act. Also, the QHA will be asking the QLD government to support the establishment of industrial hemp as an approved carbon sequestrator on the ESG list of approved plants. The executive will be seeking a meeting with the QLD minister for agriculture.

Processing facility for industrial hemp fibre
Also, we learnt about the Wandarra Pty Ltd project plans establishing a processing facility in the Townsville region for industrial hemp fibre. This is a major development for the industry and Wandarra have been working on this project for a number of years securing key processing technology, industry funding and markets.

Synergies with the sugar cane industry
During my travels throughout Queensland I managed to catch up with 6 growers and viewed some of their crops which were growing very nicely. Mostly through the Burdekin region, where out of season plantings (winter planting) were producing great seed bulking crops for fibre varieties. In this region I saw evidence of important synergies with the sugar cane production system. If you are interested, you can read Jo Muscat’s Nuffield report on the subject on the Nuffield website which covers this in detail.

Fibre processing projects
During my last 6 weeks of travel I have discovered that there are no fewer than 6 major fibre processing projects in the pipeline, right across the eastern seaboard, all these projects are in excess $1M investments each. With all this activity, we need the government to understand the significance of the growth of the Australian hemp industry and provide more effective support through increased research investment and provide a more favourable legislative environment.

Hemp Industry Cooperative Research Centre
Another industry highlight last week was the stakeholders meeting for the hemp industry CRC bid lead by Professor Gavin Ash, Hemp CRC Bid Interim CEO from the University of Southern Queensland. With around 60 attendees we were given an update on the research proposals which the group reviewed. The content was well structured and comprehensive, which will be further improved before submission. The CRC presentation will be available to view on the AHC website.
To date the CRC has funding commitments of $45M, if the CRC application is successful we can expect corresponding government contributions, with the addition of in-kind contributions we are looking at a research investment of $180M into the Australian hemp industry over the next 10 years.
This is very exciting news for the industry and will set Australia as a world leader in hemp research, thus placing us in a very competitive position internationally. Only with an easing of government regulation and restrictions on the hemp industry with legislative review, will Australia be able to take full advantage of the opportunities before us.

August Council Meeting News


Jamie Milling and Ian Wise – designing a hemp harvester

Jaimie Milling (president ihemp NSW) has been having discussions with Selena Sylvester, a Tamworth based vet who works mainly in the equine sector. Selena has been doing a lot of R&D into the use of hemp products and lobbying to allow for further use of hemp products for the benefit of animals, in particular horses. The AHC is very much in support of her work and she has seen a significant amount of evidence of hemp oils devoid of any cannabinoids having their own benefits on the animals.

In Tasmania things are quiet during the winter. The Tasmanian government, which has been a great supporter of our industry, has granted the Tasmanian Hemp Association $100,000 to run a social media campaign promoting the benefits of Tasmanian hemp food to the community. This is an industry first and we are looking forward to a boost in sales of Tasmanian hemp, and hemp products in general. The THA has engaged Kingthing Marketing based in Launceston, who have been developing their marketing plan, the campaign will start in earnest in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your social media.
We have learnt that nationally there is still an oversupply of hemp seed, which seems to be the case in New Zealand as well. However, current expectations on planting area for Tasmania seem to be similar to last years.
ECS Botanics have sold their food division to Ananda foods, and currently have their Tasmanian assets on the market.

South Australia
In South Australia, it looks like hemp seed plantings will be minimal this year due to the current oversupply. There is news of a major fibre processing facility being established in South Australia with plans to grow around 300ha of fibre crops.

We are pleased see growth in membership for Regenerative Hemp Victoria, which is important for industry support. Here also there are plans for establishment of a hemp fibre processing facility at Pyramid Hill. There is already a hemp growers group led by Leigh Fletcher in the Barham district who are keen to be part of the industry and take advantage of the emerging opportunities, more of Tim’s visits with Leigh will be on the blog section.
The Victorian government has at last passed updated hemp legislation which brings it in line with other states on less than 1% THC levels for industrial hemp. For some reason the Victorian legislation also included a tightening of regulations around licensing of the crop permit system, suggesting that perhaps they need to understand our industry a little better which can produce more appropriate legislation. The Victorian government did consult with the AHC and Victorian representative groups, but unfortunately did not take on any of our suggestions.
Click here for information on current State legislation regarding hemp.

Best Management Practices Guide
The Agrifutures supported ‘Best Management Practices Guide’ project is coming along well. In our most recent meeting last week, good progress has been made, with a contents list formulated and literature reviews being conducted. This major project, being administered by the AHC is being project managed by Stuart Gordon with a team of 8 supporting him who are all leaders in the Australian hemp industry. This project is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year with the production of an up to date Australian hemp production guide available for growers and agronomists looking to grow hemp.

Access to the AHC member services is available through your state organisation membership. See links here on the About page.

As always, thanks for following