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SA's first industrial hemp crops approved

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The South Australian government is predicting a profitable future for the state’s industrial hemp industry following its approval of the first cultivation licenses.

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Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone today announced the first industrial hemp crops would be cultivated in spring through to summer this year.

Industrial hemp production was approved by the previous government in November last year and is currently regulated under the Industrial Hemp Act.

In a statement, Whetstone said the state’s industrial hemp industry could have a farm gate value  – net value after it leaves the farm – of $3 million in five years.

“The ability to cultivate industrial hemp is great news for many farmers and processors as it provides them with another option to diversify their operations,” he said.

“The wide range of products that can be manufactured from industrial hemp also provides plenty of scope for business development, particularly in regional areas.”

Seeds from industrial hemp production can be used in health food and cosmetic products, while the fibre from the stalk can be used to manufacture consumer and industrial textiles, building materials and paper.

Under the Industrial Hemp Act, growers must be registered licensees approved by SA Police. The Act also stipulates cultivation areas must be greater than one hectare.

The government would not release licence information, including details about the crop locations, due to restrictions under the legislation.

However, it did reveal that research trials are underway in the Riverland and South-East to determine the suitability of the two regions for hemp grain and fibre production.

“This research program being undertaken by SARDI, combined with the latest in available crop technology, will provide prospective growers with the best advice for considering industrial hemp as a potential new crop in their farming mix,” Whetstone said.

The government’s approval of industrial hemp is separate from medicinal cannabis, which is regulated under federal law.

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