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Australia Leading the Industrial Hemp Race

Hemp is a fast growing, water efficient crop, which can thrive in the worst soil and can be used for a bevy of products, including paper, food, and medicine. It was around thousands of years ago and it’s still being grown today, just not as much since being banned in the US decades ago. It’s got a bad reputation, being guilty by association since its cousin crop is marijuana. Sure, both plants have their share of THC, but industrial hemp’s share is significantly less. In fact, it’s virtually non-existent.

You can grab yourself a license to grow poppy in Australia, and you can snag yourself the same type of license for growing Industrial hemp, but the only catch is, it’s illegal to eat. According to hemp industry manufacturers in Australia, hemp could be legalized for edible products in 2015, but until then, it’s illegal to consume what is now being called a “super-food”. This poses a significant issue, because more people these days are acutely aware of the health benefits of hemp seeds and their oils. Their proteins, vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids make “hemp food” an absolute must for anyone thinking of eating healthy.

John Muir, a hemp consultant based on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, said in a statement, “Any grain grower can basically grow it. It will fit into their rotation anywhere in Australia.”

Muir services the hemp industry in all of Australia as well as internationally, and considers hemp to have great potential for farmers.

“We haven’t been able to meet the demand in Australia, we’ve had to even import some (hemp seeds). We are hoping to get a huge industry developed… throughout Australia to supply this new demand for super-foods”, he said.

The hemp industry has been tenaciously lobbying the government and Food Safety Standards Australia New Zealand for hemp seeds to be legalized, which could be the key to Australia’s hemp industry taking off. Industrial hemp is used in Canada, the US, and Europe in a wide variety of applications, and food being one of them. Anything from health bars to salad dressings, raw seeds to roasted and sprinkled on desserts, hemp seeds and oils are picking up speed, almost being demanded in some cases. Muir says it is a valuable crop to have for farmers as it would fit in perfectly with good non-water logged soils that aren’t compacted. It provides normal healthy crop farming systems and fetches above the average price of grains that are currently grown.

“It’s about $3.00 per kilo cleaned so the farmers would be getting about $3000 per tonne,” He said.

This perfect crop seems to be gaining more and more attention lately due to the health benefits alone. Everyone these days wants to eat healthy, and this is why Australia continues to fight for the legalization and right to eat this health “super-food”.

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