An agronomy professor argues that if farmers can get their hands on hemp, adding it to their crop rotations will boost their profits. According to UNL’s Ismael Dweikat, hemp grown in Brownfields can be more lucrative than crops like corn or soybeans. Grown as a dual crop, for both food and fiber, hemp yields can increase by a factor of at least 1.5 times. All the grain you can harvest will be used for food, and whatever is left over will be spun into cloth.
“That fiber, if you are not using it for textile production, you can process it for biodiesel and bioethanol,” he said, referring to its potential use in the fuel supply. However, Dweikat warns that it can be difficult to sell the crop: “We need to have a processing facility to process the seed. We need farmers to build silos to harvest the seed to process it, store it or sell it.” He also thinks more production facilities are required.
Dweikat met with Kellan Heavican, from Brownfield, during the University of Nebraska Extension field day on Wednesday
How hemp can build a greener economy
Hemp is not just the plant that makes CBD. It is also a way to get rid of some of the most harmful pollutants of our time without hurting the environment Some of the most polluting materials on Earth can be replaced with hemp, which is better for the environment. Hemp is not only where CBD comes from, but its seeds and fiber can also be used to make things like concrete, plastic, fabric, and fuel. Alternatives to hemp are better for the environment and safer for people to use.
What makes hemp such a good choice for the environment?
Hemp is one of the oldest crops in the world. It should not be confused with marijuana, which is made from the psychoactive plant cannabis. Most estimates say that people have been growing hemp since 4000 BCE. This unique plant can be used as medicine, but it also has uses that are just as important today as they were in the Bronze Age.
Hemp does not need pesticides to grow well
One of the modern benefits of hemp is that it can be grown on a large scale without pesticides or herbicides. There is a lot of information about how pesticides affect the environment. They make people sick, cut down on biodiversity, and pollute the air, water, and soil. Many of the most important industrial crops, like cotton and soybeans, are grown with a lot of pesticides. Even if only a small portion of these crops were changed to hemp, it would have a huge effect on how much pesticides are used around the world.
Hemp does not need much water
The World Bank says that about 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used by the agriculture industry. As the world’s population grows (it is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050), so will our need for food and fresh water. In other words, every season, we need crops that need less water. Most estimates say that hemp is not a crop that needs a lot of water. Because of this, it is a better choice for the environment than cotton, especially.
A sustainable fuel source
Many things happen to the environment when fossil fuels are burned and oil is taken out of the ground. Biodiesel, which is a type of fuel made from plant matter, can be made from hemp. A study from the University of Connecticut found that the main problem with most biofuel is that it takes up valuable cropland that is usually used to grow food. But because hemp can grow in poor soil and many different climates, it does not take up valuable farmland that could be used to grow other crops. Also, this biofuel comes from the seeds of the plant, not from the plant itself. Seeds are usually thrown away, so using them as fuel is another way that hemp’s versatility makes it a good crop for the environment.
Building materials that are cheaper and last longer
From now until 2020, the demand for concrete cement is expected to grow by 7 percent each year. Cement, which is the main ingredient in concrete, is the second most used resource in the world and produces 8 percent of all CO2 emissions (according to the Royal Institute of International Affairs). Hempcrete is already used all over the world, especially in France.
It is a type of concrete made from hemp It is not as hard as concrete and can be used as both insulation and a way to control the amount of moisture in a room at the same time. Hempcrete is not good for building foundations, but it is great for walls that do not have to hold weight and is a very good insulator.
A cotton substitute
Cotton is the world’s most popular non-food crop. Cotton growing not only degrades soil quality but the pesticides typically employed in its production lead to widespread freshwater pollution. According to the World Resources Institute, cotton accounts for 11% of pesticides and 24% of insecticides used globally. Cotton requires a substantial amount of water in addition to herbicides and insecticides to thrive. One cotton t-shirt requires 2,700 liters of water to produce, which is roughly equivalent to what one person would consume in two and a half years. Though less popular than cotton, hemp is a classic fiber that is extensively utilized in the production of textiles. According to a study, it differs from cotton in that it needs one-quarter the amount of water.
Plastic that biodegrades
Since the 1950s, more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been created, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that half of all plastic is single-use, with 60% ending up in landfills or nature. Hemp plastic is a biodegradable, lightweight, and durable alternative to the oil-based plastics we now use. Furthermore, biodegradable plastic does not contain the toxins usually present in other plastics that disrupt the human body’s endocrine system, making it better for the environment. Not only does hemp use less water, but it also takes up less land per pound of fiber. It may also grow in a wide range of conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hemp
- What is the purpose of hemp?
Rope, textiles, apparel, footwear, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel are just a few of the commercial and industrial items made from hemp.
- Is hemp considered a drug?
CBD is still technically categorized as a Schedule I substance under federal law. Despite the fact that hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, CBD is still considered a Schedule I narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Are marijuana and hemp the same plant?
Taxonomically speaking, hemp and marijuana are the same plants; they both belong to the Cannabis genus and species.
- What benefits does hemp have for the body?
These beneficial fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are especially abundant in hemp seeds. Both of these fats are recognized for their ability to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. Including hemp oil in your diet may lessen your future risk of heart disease.
- Does cannabis alleviate pain?
CBD may relieve pain by influencing multiple biological systems within the body. CBD has been demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic properties. CBD may also lessen the anxiety that chronic pain patients frequently suffer.