~January NHA Update by Geoff Whaling, Chair

Belated Happy New Years to All!

I trust that you had the opportunity to celebrate the festive season in the company of friends and family. As we embark on the promising year of 2024, filled with new opportunities, challenges, and the anticipation of the industrial hemp season, I extend my warmest greetings to each one of you.

In the spirit of collaboration and progress, I am pleased to share updates on the significant strides made by the National Hemp Association (NHA) during the last 30 days. I remind that our Board colleague, Courtney Moran, briefed you in last month’s newsletter on the impactful work undertaken with Congressional Members, their staff, and senior staff from USDA Secretary Vilsak’s Office in December.

In response to comments received, we’ve updated the one page overview on the legislation lead exclusively by NHA, the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 (H.R. 3755 and S980) to make it clearer that this legislation is proposing a sub definition of Industrial Hemp which will bifurcate and establish new rules for Industrial Hemp grown for fiber and grain from the definition and rules that already exist for cannabinoid/floral hemp.

Notably, we successfully elevated our dialogue, advocating for a Whole Of Government approach to Industrial Hemp directly to the White House. It was heartening to witness the active participation of our Gold Members, Morgan Tweet and Mina Mishrikey, alongside Erica and myself, engaging in a substantive discussion with members of the White House Domestic Policy, Climate, Agriculture, and Outreach Offices.

Morgan Tweet, the CEO of IND HEMP, articulated the challenges faced in building their business model and the fiber and grain supply chain. Drawing from her rich background as an engineer, former ADM employee, and CEO of America’s largest commercial-scale Industrial Hemp Fiber and Grain operations, Morgan brought passion, frankness, and a stark reality to the challenges experienced by our industry. Sharing her voluntary role as Executive Director of the Hemp Feed Coalition further highlighted the multifaceted leadership that many of us have taken on in order to see our industry succeed.

Mina Mishrikey, Partner and Head of Investments at Merida Capital Holdings, a key investor in the Industrial Hemp space, shared insights into their investments in fiber processing and end-users of those fibers. Despite acknowledging the potential in the industry, Mina emphasized that Canada presented a more favorable investment opportunity due to persistent uncertainty and the lack of a comprehensive government understanding and approach on Industrial Hemp in the U.S.

In response to our discussion, the White House requested a document outlining the challenges faced by NHA members with Federal agencies and the proposed solutions to address these issues. We promptly delivered this document, highlighting challenges within 11 Federal Agencies and received an immediate and positive response: “Thank you for the quick follow-up on this. I’ll share this with my colleagues to help inform our upcoming conversations internally.”

We have also communicated these developments to our congressional champions, who will actively monitor and ensure a timely and substantive response.

As we move forward into 2024, let us continue to work collaboratively towards the advancement of the industrial hemp industry, fostering understanding, and advocating for policies that support our collective goals.

 Hemp for Animal Feed Takes a Big Step

In a significant step towards approval. The FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine’s recommended the approval of Hemp Seed Meal (HSM) for laying hens to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and they will vote on it at their Mid-Year Meeting. 

Hemp Seed Meal serves as an excellent source of protein and fat for laying hens.

The proposal for a new feed ingredient definition, championed by the Hemp Feed Coalition, navigated through rigorous evaluations and correspondence with FDA and paved the way for its approval. 

The nutritional profile of Hemp Seed Meal is remarkable, containing essential vitamins, minerals, healthy oils, and a complete protein profile akin to traditional feed sources like soy and canola. Notably, hemp-fed hens produce eggs enriched with essential fatty acids and nutrients beneficial for human health, showcasing the multifaceted benefits of hemp seed as a feed ingredient.

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A Testament to Collaboration and Success – Opportunities Through NHA Membership

My name is Cameron McIntosh and, along with my wife and business partner Melissa, we are Americhanvre Cast Hemp – a full service hempcrete installation provider and supplier of raw materials and equipment specific to the installation of hempcrete via the Baumer Ereasy Spray Applied Hempcrete system located in Allentown, PA. The Ereasy system is now the single most documented and utilized hempcrete technology in the United States with thirty plus unique installations across the country, eight individual Ereasy System owner operators and hundreds of hempcrete installers trained by Americhanvre to date.

The National Hemp Association has been with us from the very start.

Most recently, our membership was again rewarded in an update from board chair Geoff Whaling notifying us of a substantial small business investment research grant opportunity open call from the United States Army on Sustainable Building Materials. Our team moved quickly to begin the complex process of establishing Americhanvre as a business capable of applying for such an award and were quickly connected to resources by NHA that proved invaluable in our pursuit of the award. The solicitation was an open topic with a maximum value of $1.9M for research objectives that Americhanvre identified as necessary to the development of both our business and the hemp building industry as a whole.

 Our team was elated to receive news in August of 2023 that we had in fact been chosen to receive the maximum award in the form of a fully funded direct to phase II contract.

Without the support of the National Hemp Association throughout our history as a company I can honestly say that we may not have been in a position to write for the many opportunities that are now available to us.

Although our own determination and successful commercialization of the spray application technology is a result of the hard work and dedication of our team, the exposure to opportunities at an early stage and the resources to pursue them would have both been dramatically more difficult to come by without our membership in the National Hemp Association. There are both the tangible opportunities that we were given as a result of our membership, and also the years of dedication to the cause demonstrated by the leadership of the NHA by Geoff Whaling, Erica Stark and many others. 

The “whole of government” approach adopted by the National Hemp Association to educating and informing the powers in Washington D.C. is not always visible yet has begun to manifest as federal agencies take note of the potential for fiber industrial hemp to address many of the challenges we face as a country in the 21st century. We are eternally grateful for the wisdom and guidance we have received as members of the National Hemp Association and encourage all current and future fiber industrial hemp entrepreneurs to use their monthly dues to support the work of the NHA and to take full advantage of the opportunities that the organization is continuing to create.

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Welcome to our new Platinum Member!

We are thrilled to extend a warm welcome to IND HEMP as a platinum member of our community! IND HEMP stands as a beacon of sustainability and mission-driven enterprise, embodying the spirit of family-owned businesses committed to environmental stewardship. Based in Montana, IND HEMP pioneers the industrial hemp sector, offering opportunities for farmers and rural communities across the American West. Their dedication to cultivating strong relationships, fostering sustainable practices, and producing high-quality hemp products resonates deeply with our values. 

IND HEMP CEO, Morgan Tweet said, “IND HEMP has built a strong relationship with the NHA team and are committed to supporting their efforts in moving policy forward that will not only impact our business but others in the grain and fiber sectors as well. We look forward to continuing our combined efforts to share the Goodness of Hemp with the rest of the world.” 

As they pave the way for a stable supply chain using American-grown hemp seeds and fiber, we are excited to witness their impact both domestically and globally. Together, we celebrate their commitment to integrity, hard work, and fostering a brighter, greener future for all. Welcome, IND HEMP!

Update on SUSHI Project

 In its second year, the SUSHI project made significant strides in its mission to explore hemp’s viability as a safe and sustainable feed for trout in aquaculture. 

Despite initial challenges and delays, the project achieved notable advancements, particularly in integrating hemp as a key additive to fish feed. Innovative solutions were devised to overcome obstacles, including the construction of a mock chamber for the rosin press at Central State University (CSU), facilitating progress in feed trials. 

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