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May – June  2024

AHC President’s Report

Welcome to our report for May – June 2024.
There are many new developments occurring in the Australian hemp industry on which to to bring you up to date.

Senate Inquiry
We have drafted a terms of reference for the up-coming Senate inquiry which you can see here. After 4 years of dedicated work, we have almost completed the AHC structure development. We have more than 100 experts from the Food, Fibre, Fodder, Building, Extracts, Carbon, Agronomy and Research sectors ready to provide their skilled input into the proposed senate inquiry. The industry has never been so ready for proactive change.

AHC Appointments
The following are newly appointed leaders in the AHC who have volunteered to support the industry using their expertise and experience:
Dr Stuart Gordon – is chair of the AHC Research Group. Stuart is a senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food’s System Program. Stuart has played a key role in the success of the 4 national hemp conferences, collating the key researchers and presenters for each conference. The proposed task of the research group is to raise awareness of research initiatives into the hemp industry to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication. This group will also identify key research priorities for the industry.

Andrew Kavasilas – is chair of the AHC Extracts Group. Andrew has for many years, been an advocate for the hemp industry and has a number of businesses covering food fibre and extracts. A main task for the extracts group is to support the industry in advocating for whole of plant use, including utilisation of non THC extracts that can add enormous value to our industry.

Dick Clarke – chair of the AHC Building Group. Dick is an advocate for sustainable housing and has many years of experience as an architect; founder of Envirotecture. The task of the Builders group is to fast track establishment of standards to help bring hemp into mainstream building and construction.

Sherri Smith-Hoyer – new Council member from Regenerative Hemp Victoria. Sherri has a strong background in corporate management and is keen to aid the development of the hemp industry. Sherri was the AHC delegate for the European Industrial Hemp Association conference recently held in Prague, where she met with many industry leaders learning about the European hemp industry. Sherri will be compiling a report on her trip for the AHC.

Andrew Bourne – Councillor representing the Northern Territory. We welcome Andrew who is deputy CEO of the NT Farmers representing the NT hemp industry interests on the council.

State Reports

South Australia – Mick Anderson
With a successfully completed harvest, the industry is now looking at winter dryland trials in cooperation with Adelaide University. Some rain has eventually arrived after quite a dry spell since December. We believe South Fibre SA Pty Ltd are progressing well with plans to set up a hemp fibre processing facility near Glenroy.

Tasmania – Tim Crow
Harvest in Tasmania was quickly completed, some grain yields were around the 1.5t/ha mark. The Tasmanian government has put to parliament new updated legislation for the hemp industry. Some key changes include
1. Permitted horticultural use of raw stubble mulch
2. Department discretion on disposal of hot crops.
3. Industrial hemp material can now be supplied to a business with a medicinal license.
These are small, but important changes. The Tasmanian government would like to go further, but are restricted by federal regulations. We are pleased to note that it is Tasmanian government policy to support in principle, changes at the federal level to open up more opportunities for Tasmanian farmers. To read the AHC media release on the subject click here.
There are plans to coordinate a biochar trial with collaboration between Tasmanian Feedlot, University of Tasmania and Mara Seeds (Lismore). This is to replicate work from NSW to test the methane emission reduction in cattle and increase in weight gain utilising a bio char product based on hemp.

Victoria – Sherri Smith-Hoyer
Lyn, David and I (RHV committee) attended a hemp showcase at the Victorian Parliament, hosted by Rachel Payne, MP Legalise Cannabis Victoria. We took the opportunity to demonstrate the many and varied uses of hemp, including Brett Boags model hemp house manufactured by Hexcore.
The Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee initiated the Industrial Hemp inquiry on 31 May 2023, off the back of Legalise Cannabis Victoria’s Motion, to investigate the issues, barriers and opportunities within the current Victorian industrial hemp industry. The report was released on 30 November 2023.

The government considered the nine recommendations from the report and supports two recommendations in full, supports six recommendations in principle and one recommendation is under review.
Click here to download the  government’s response.
Important to note is the fact that we now have public statements from both the Tasmanian and Victorian governments, showing support for reform of hemp legislation at the federal level.

New South Wales – Jaimie Milling
There has been a lot of activity in the Industrial Hemp Industry in NSW over the last month or so.
The fibre production sector has had large areas of fibre crops growing in southern NSW and have recently been harvested. Record Biomass crops have just been harvested in the Riverina, with average yields of up to 16t/ha under irrigation mentioned.

In NSW there has been some excitement in the hemp space with the National Hemp variety trials being carried out at the Sydney University Research Station at Narrabri in the last 24 months. This has involved the planting of approximately 12 different hemp varieties to help further the development of  knowledge regarding suitable strains for our regions.

On the 7 February 2024 Bob Doyle and Jaimie Milling were invited by the Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty and Jeremy Buckingham MLC to attend Parliament House in Sydney for the launch and media release of the NSW Hemp Industry Taskforce. The launch received extensive media attention from the NSW Farmers Association, Landline, The Land Newspaper and national print. This is a massive milestone for the NSW hemp industry as well as being nationally significant for the industry.

Our first Hemp Taskforce meeting as held on 29 February 2024 and there have been 4 more since. For further information you can follow this link to the latest iHemp NSW newsletter.

Queensland – Lauchlan Grout
Grower/Corporate members such as Wandarra Pty Ltd have planted dual-purpose (Ruby) crops in the Townsville region late May, with strong germination and seedling growth.

Two seed production companies in the Maranoa Region of SE QLD are nearing harvest with varietal seed multiplication crops. Cool weather has set in, helping to mature the seed prior to harvest.

QLD Parliament have made updates to sections of the Drugs Misuse Act regarding industrial hemp, including the sharing of information between entities and government agencies plus changes around the testing framework. More information here.

Queensland has received immense amounts of rainfall over the past 2 months, this has built up soil moisture profiles and allowed multiple crops to be sown. These crops are a mixture of seed multiplication, research and grain production. Approximate locations are the Lockyer Valley, Sunshine Coast and Far North QLD.

Our executive board have re-worked the association website and enhanced it’s workflow to include domestic and international news.

Western Australia – Iggy Van
We are happy to report that members of iHempWA committee have been the recipient of some amazing awards at this year’s Master Builders Association of Western Australia Awards with the recently completed Indica House in the Margaret River Region:
⭐️2024 Best Country Home South West (MAJOR PRIZE)
⭐️ Best Contract Home $1.0-1.5 million
⭐️ Excellence in Alternative Finishes
⭐️ Best Alternative Construction Home
⭐️ Excellence in External Finishes
⭐️ Supervisor of the Year: Gary Rogers, Hemp Homes Australia.

South Western WA has finally received rainfall and pastures are beautiful and green.

There has been a raid on the property of a licenced grower in Western Australia. The crop had gone hot (was reported 2.1% THC) and was cut down. In WA crops have to be destroyed by burning, however due to the fire bans this was not possible. The cut down crop was watered to make it rot. After several months a raid was still carried out. No charges were laid, and details are very limited. At face value it seems a very heavy handed approach towards a grower trying to do the right thing. We are internally trying to find out more, but suspect there will be limited information.

At iHempWA we are setting ourselves up to communicate our position clearly and then engage with stakeholders to further the industrial hemp industry. We have developed a position statement detailing our position on industrial hemp and cannabis used for medicinal and recreational use. We are happy to share a copy if you are interested.

Our next step is an address with the Western Australian (shadow) Minister(s) for agriculture, innovation, housing and climate change to highlight the positive impact and economic opportunities industrial hemp can have.

We are gauging interest in an industrial hemp pitch event for investors as well as showcasing the WA hemp industry to interested parties. At this stage we think this event will be held between August and October.

More information in iHempWA newsletter

AHC Group Reports

Food Report – Mick Anderson
The last food group meeting was held on 1st May. The success of the Australian Industrial Hemp Conference was discussed. We agreed marketing of food products is an important task that the food group could take up.

There was broad food group support to proceed with AHC food standards development and for the AHC to establish and own its standards and list these standards with the AOF as an important immediate step towards Australian Industrial Hemp standards. A project to achieve a workable standard could be completed within 12 months with quarterly reporting.

The funding proposed by Bronwyn Blake and the fodder group to take on the AVPMA is important for hemp food processing businesses to create legal outlets for by-products.

Prof Roman Buckow will be replacing Veronica Borrett in the food group from now on.

Fodder Report – Bronwyn Blake
The Fodder Group has been extremely busy working on a project to allow for the sale of hemp seed oil and hemp seed by products to livestock and pets. Very soon you will receive some correspondence with much more detail on this issue where we will be raising funds to support the application process with the APVMA.

Agrifutures theme 3 hemp feed projects are progressing well with two projects initiated to track hemp seed impacts on beef production and the effects of hemp treatments on dog and horse companion animals.

Extracts Group – Andrew Kavasilas
The past few months have been busy in the Australian Industrial Hemp sector, with most Southern cropping zones finishing up harvest. The biennial Australian Industrial Hemp Conference in the Hunter Valley this year saw a welcome respite to the long days of harvest and provided a chance to catch up with industry peers to discuss the state of the Australian industry, current research and achievements, along with strategic planning on how to help grow the industry moving forward.

As the theme lead for the extractions group, it was wonderful to see so much interest in what potential opportunities lie in wait for extractions from the cannabis plant. There is significant interest from the livestock and animal health industries, along with the nutraceuticals and supplement sector. A vast array of diverse and highly regarded professionals have expressed a willingness to engage with state and federal regulators to drive change of use laws surrounding the extraction of terpenes, flavonoids and secondary metabolites (cannabinoids), which will allow the extraction working group to establish a critical knowledge base to effectively move forward

Carbon Group – Lauchlan Grout
Milestones have been set to align with other carbon/ climate groups. Connecting with UK groups
Following the carbon sub-committee meeting on the 22nd February, initiatives are being put together by members to achieve the following;

  • Establish a clear line of communication with the Climate Change Committee, Australian Greenhouse Office, AgriFutures Carbon Group
  • Understanding the percentage of carbon held within hurd and fibre products and for how long
  • Establish a line of communication through the participation in key information sharing with LaTrobe university, who are interesting in the commercialisation of viable supply-chains that encapsulate sustainable materials such as hemp (which have the ability to uptake and hold carbon)
  • Review and endorse viable methodologies for industrial hemp carbon sequestration which result in accumulation of carbon credits.

We are pleased to see that Winton Evers has made significant progress in developing carbon sequestration methodology that can be applied to the hemp industry. There are other important benefits being developed as a result of this work including product integrity insurance and product tracking.

Agronomy Report – Rob Eccles
We have been in contact with the members. With help from John Muir and Tony Burfield (Integrated Farming Services) the AHC has submitted a grant application for dryland (winter) hemp crops when there should be sufficient rainfall.

We addressed a group of growers a couple of weeks ago looking into hemp and hemp building products.

Next month’s reports will include updates on the following:
Research – Stuart Gordon
Fibre Group – Bob Doyle
Builders’ Group – Dick Clarke

To make contact with any of the groups please send an email to:

Other News:

New Zealand Hemp Industries Association
The AHC and the NZIA are discussing the proposal of establishing reciprocal membership arrangements to assist in collaboration. We have already included members from NZ in our Builder Group meetings.

Hop Latent Viroid
We have concerns about the detection of the Hop Latent Viroid, so far only found in medicinal hemp production facilities. It has highlighted the issue of biosecurity for the Australian hemp industry where we recognise the need for more stringent protocols on plant material coming into Australia. The AHC is planning to become a member of Plant Health Australia to gain assistance for planning and applying appropriate biosecurity protocols.

Hemp Farms Australia
CEO of Hemp Farms Australia (HFA), Lauchlan Grout has been in Texas to discuss supplying the growing US market He spent two weeks meeting crop trial partners and commercial processors/manufacturers seeking low-THC plant varieties.

“The US is desperate for seed; the market for industrial hemp in America has been growing four-fold compared to that of Australia,” Mr Grout said. “There have been major investments into hemp-based products and the marketplace is much larger than here in Australia.”
He said that the demand was particularly strong for varieties suitable for the southern US states. “There is a world shortage of suitable seed and our Australian varieties – especially our seed and fibre dual-purpose varieties – are a perfect fit.”
HFA holds an approved export licence through Australia’s Office of Drug Control and Mr Grout said he anticipated further sales growth for Australian-sourced seed.

Hemp Farms Australia will run multiple trials throughout Nashville and Texas with prestigious agricultural based Universities and private farmers. These results will be shared once trials have been completed and assessed.

Be sure to stay up to date with all events supported by the Australian Hemp Council by subscribing to our mailing list.