AHC President’s Report – October 2023
Welcome to our October report also covering activities from September.
The AHC recently held the AGM on 26th October, with no changes in the executive:
President – Tim Schmidt, Vice President – Lauchlan Grout, Treasurer, public officer and executive officer – Bernard Thomson
You can view the president’s report here.
National Co-Operative Project
The Council continues to work through a major proposal for the establishment of a national hemp industry co-operative. For such a significant project, we require extensive scrutiny and investigation to allow us to proceed with confidence. More to follow on this later.
Australian Industrial Hemp Conference
Registrations are now open for the biannual Australian National Hemp Conference to be held 16th to 18th April 2024 at the Oaks Lakes Cypress Resort in the Hunter Valley. For anyone interested in the Australian hemp industry, this is an essential event: https://www.australianindustrialhempconference.org/
AHC members recently attended the launch of the Agrifutures Industrial Hemp Program of Research (AIHPR). We have a seat on the advisory committee representing your interests. Tobias Kretzschmar at Southern Cross University (Lismore) is the leader of the project and has worked hard to bring together the research teams, the team leaders include:
Edward Mwando – NT department of Industry Tourism and Trade, Katherine
Sarah Purdy – NSW DPI, Tamworth
Marie-Chantale Pelletier – Southern Cross University, Lismore
Ken Dods – SAGE Consulting, Perth
This project is part of a $2.5M investment by agrifutures into hemp industry research over the next 5 years. Click here to read the Agrifutures media release.
Australian Industrial Hemp Trials
We would also like to promote the Agrifutures Australian Industrial Hemp Trials field days, being held across Australia. Follow this link for further details:
Unfortunately there seem to be some key issues with seed supply for this year’s trials with many varieties being imported and facing logistical hurdles. This is beginning to impact adversely on planting times which the management teams are working hard to resolve.
AHC Food Group – Mick Andersen
The food group is looking to join with the Australian Oilseeds Federation to work on developing national food standards for Australian hemp seed oil.
Assistance will be requested from the ACCC on restrictive practices by organisations such as Meta, Google and Stripe when promoting Australian hemp businesses. There are many outdated practices and policies restricting our industry that the AHC will be highlighting and need to be updated.
AHC Fibre Group – Bob Doyle
Proceedings of the AHC Fibre Forum are now available to view through our website, as featured on the October 8th landline ABC program.
AHC Fodder Group – Bronwyn Blake
The AHC Fodder group met with the AVPMA to discuss the situation with the sale of hemp oil for companion animals. The AHC considers hemp oil to be eligible for GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status, however the AVPMA has a contrary view and at this stage it looks like it will cost at least $33,000 apply to APVMA to consider the GRAS status of hemp oil.
The AHC fodder group is taking steps to deal with this significant industry issue, however the AHC will need assistance in funding to proceed with the application.
In the mean time we understand that the APVMA has already notified businesses they cannot continue to sell hemp-based products for companion animals until these products are registered. It’s important to note, there is no legal restriction in an individual purchasing oil and using it to supplement their own pet’s diet.
Project 1 under Theme 3 of AgriFutures R&D program, investigating hemp seed as a high value feed for livestock, is kicking off. There are two parts to this project. The first part will be a literature review and industry scoping activity, leading to key recommendations to industry on the role hemp seed will play in the livestock and companion animal sector. This activity will be completed by Bronwyn Blake of Hemp Feed Solutions. The second part is an animal trial investigating hemp seed in finishing diets of cattle. This will take place in 2024 with industry partner Raintree Estate. Team: Bronwyn Blake, Ken Dods, Stephen Birkbeck, Gaye Krebs. A project launch date will be announced soon.
AHC Extracts Group – Ben McGorm
Our first AHC Extracts Group meeting will be held Monday 20th November 12pm Sydney time. This is open to all stakeholders, so if you like to join the meeting email us at email@example.com.
Carbon Sequestration – Lauchlan Grout
Our next meeting will be scheduled soon.
AHC Agronomy Report – Rob Eccles
Some crops in the south QLD region have been damaged by hail.
We foresee a need for hemp seed food supplies and planting seed for fibre and at this stage we predict a shortage this time next year for both seed supplies.
A new business, Hunter Valley Hemp Seed and Grain, is being established by Bob Doyle and Colin Steddy to store hemp seed for propagation and to ensure farmers have a reliable hemp planting seed supply. They will also be in a position to supply imported seed for growers. Further information contact Colin Steddy: firstname.lastname@example.org – 0407195340.
Western Australia – Bronwyn Blake
WA Awards Gala Dinner, AGM and iHempExpo took place on September 9th. The award trophies were produced by Zeoform from 100% hemp micro pulp. Key achievements include development of a 5 year plan for iHemp WA, revamped membership structure refreshed website along with an updated vision and mission. For award details etc, check out their website.
On Sunday October 8th HempGro held their AGM. This year it’s anticipated that only 30ha of hemp will be grown in WA, which is the lowest in years. Due to the reduction in industry demand, HempGro will go into caretaker mode for 12 months. Click here for seed available.
Sadly, one of WA’s best hemp growers, David Campbell, passed away last month. David was a key driver of industry innovation in WA.
There are moves within the state to establish a WA hub for fibre and renewable products.
iHempWA is aiming to look at assisting in development of education modules with tertiary education organisation with the aim to increase awareness of hemp. Uni of South Australia currently have a module. iHempWA invite feedback on the above.
Unfortunately, state funding for Don Telfer’s support of the WA hemp industry is been reallocated. DPIRD seems to be pulling out of new hemp research, although some variety trials are still ongoing.
Margaret River Hemp Processing is now producing hurd for building and pet bedding. Both are currently available in large bulker bags.
New South Wales – Jaimie Milling
The AHC joined the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty, and Jeremy Buckingham MLC on October 5th for a roundtable discussion. These discussions covered issues such as:
- Support for the hemp application to FSANZ
- Supporting industry grants
- Building code development
- Clarification of definitions and terminology and other issues.
The AHC is very pleased with the support of the NSW DPI and Government showing a proactive and constructive approach, and example of which other states should take note.
We have also received acknowledgement that the Hon.Tara Moriarty “NSW minister for Agriculture” and the Hon.Jeremy Buckingham “Member of Legalise Cannabis NSW Party” will be attending and opening the AIHC in the Hunter Valley – April 2024
Queensland – Lauchlan Grout
Queensland’s industrial hemp sector has been full-speed ahead throughout August, September and the beginning of October. National seed suppliers, Hemp Farms Australia and Ecofibre Limited have conducted seed multiplications in both far north Queensland and south east Queensland with crops being harvested this month.
Local growers and processors, Wandarra Pty Ltd, have harvested a large grain crop and plan on sowing 300ha for fibre production this month.
Tasmania – Tim Schmidt
The social media campaign funded by the Tasmanian government and managed by the Tasmanian Hemp Association has kicked off and we have lots of posts with hemp seed food coming through, if you see one in your social media feed, please post it onwards.
X-Hemp capital raise has gone very well, with an enormous amount of hard work and grit, Andi Lucas and her team have built a great little business utilising the hemp fibre in Tasmania, which has raised over $1.5M. This now opens up new opportunities for the X Hemp business and is a great asset and innovation for the Tasmanian hemp industry.
The Elixanol purchase has been completed and all growers and service providers have had their accounts settled, the industry can now move on.
At the moment it is very dry in the south, irrigators have been running in some places since June. In the north, after a wet winter, it has now dried out considerably. It doesn’t help that we have still been experiencing light frosts, hopefully they will have passed by now.
For the very first time it looks like the fibre planting area will be greater than seed for food area. At a casual estimation, the seed stockpile in Tasmania is around 300t and falling.
Recently the Tasmanian Government tabled the proposed hemp legislation update. There is still a ridiculous hesitancy in allowing the sale of mulch to gardeners, however the proposal is to allow the supply of paddock stubble to licensed horticulturalists, which is at least one step in the right direction.
Another change is to clarify the capacity of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to use discretion in crop management when a crop exceeds the regulated THC level.
Although we believe the Tasmanian government has not gone far enough, we acknowledge the great effort the department has put into this review. I suggest you read the submissions, in particular the Office if Drug Control and their comments. Also, the NRE department summary provides much clarity to an often confusing issue. You can access the submissions via this link.
South Australia – Mick Andersen
South Australian growers are preparing for sowing hemp crops mid November with 3 processors offering contracts – Good Country Hemp requiring seed for food production, Vircura and Hepburn Ag for biomass.
Victoria – Lyn Stephenson
We are awaiting the outcome of the Victorian parliamentary Inquiry into how to support the hemp industry. Copies of submissions are available on Parliament web site. Interviews have been conducted and will be published in Hansard. We were concerned with the disinterest of the three senior people from the Agriculture Department, however we hope this will change once the review report is released.
Support our growing industry
To help build our political and social momentum, I urge industry supporters to join our state organisations. We now have around 100 committee supporters assisting the AHC, all volunteers.
Our membership is growing, we now have almost 500 members under the AHC banner. We have been working hard to bring about change for the hemp industry and we need your support to get the job done. So please encourage those who believe in this industry to sign up and support our growing industry.
Get in touch
If you wish to follow up on any of the issues mentioned by our state members, please contact them directly. Contact details can be found here: https://australianhempcouncil.org.au/about-page/
The AHC is a voluntary organisation supported by lots of individuals determined to support the successful establishment of an Australian hemp industry. The more members we have, the more we can achieve.
Thanks for reading and if you’re not already subscribed, join now to stay up to date with any new information regarding hemp around Australia.
From everyone at the AHC, thanks again and see you next month.