It has the potential to be one of the most sustainable and profitable cropping solutions in Australia and now the University of Southern Queensland is spearheading an innovative research bid to explore the immense production possibilities of hemp.
UniSQ is collaborating with research and industry partners nationally and internationally to investigate how hemp could be the basis for a profitable, sustainable national industry that is globally competitive into the future.
Executive Director of the University’s Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment, Professor Gavin Ash is leading the bid to form a Cooperative Research Centre for hemp – the Hemp CRC.
“Our bid is for a decade of funding which could result in the biggest single investment in hemp in the southern hemisphere,” Professor Ash said.
“It’s an incredibly bold vision that the research and industry consortium have for this CRC, but it’s one that’s worth very deep consideration and could offer a vast array of benefits to the growth of a number of core industry sectors in Australia and as a result boost our national economy.
“There’s been a long held view around hemp in our society and it’s time to advance how the industry is understood and take advantage of what it has to offer.”
Professor Kerryn Phelps AM has been announced as the Chair Elect for the Hemp CRC bid. Prof. Phelps has a background as a politician, medical practitioner, author and journalist.
“I am incredibly excited by the potential of this emerging industry and the active collaboration of our industry partners in the bid development,” she said.
Prof. Ashe said hemp was an attractive crop option for Australian farmers as it grows fast, is drought-tolerant, and sequesters carbon.
“It’s a high value crop that allows farmers to diversify their farming systems and also build soil health through crop rotation,” he said.
“This focus is about building an industry that has a sustainable supply chain and sustainable outcomes from supporting the industrial uses hemp lends itself to, through its known health benefits.
“Ultimately, hemp is a crop of tomorrow and here in Australia we have the land, resources, supportive legislation and expertise that all combine to offer our country a sustainable, profitable and globally competitive industry that is data driven and based in good science.”
- Hemp can be used in medicine, food, construction materials and clothing.
- Hemp is the ultimate crop where the whole plant can be used – from seed to flower to leaf and stem.
- Hemp has the potential to be one of the top ten crops in Australia.
- Hemp is an alternative crop to forestry as a means of carbon sequestration – it will tie up as much carbon as a ten years old pine forest but in only 120 days.
Hemp can be grown in traditional rotations with other crops everywhere from Tasmania to the Northern Territory and across from Queensland to Western Australia.
For more information visit hempcrc.com.au
This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 17 November 2022.