Industry invited to shape nation-wide industrial hemp variety trials


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Expansion of the emerging industrial hemp industry is the focus of the 2nd Australian Industrial Hemp Conference and an AgriFutures Australia funded project to build a national industrial hemp variety trial scheme.

To be held in Fremantle, WA from 25-28 February 2020, the conference will be supported, for a second year, by AgriFutures Australia who are proud silver sponsors of the major event.

The conference will feature the latest in industrial hemp research and expertise, including topics ranging from industrial hemp for human health to the provision of new varieties and crop agronomy expertise for local growers, through to sessions on realising value from the crops fibre, hurd, food and health products.

Earmarked as a high potential emerging industry, AgriFutures Australia is working closely with the industrial hemp industry to reach its target of $10 million annual gross value of production by 2025. Key to this goal is the new investment towards a business case for a National Industrial Hemp Variety Trial, funded by AgriFutures™ Emerging Industries Program which seeks to better understand the hemp varieties best suited for Australian conditions.

AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Emerging Industries, Tom McCue said the conference will provide a forum to explore the exciting opportunities on the horizon for the industry.

“The future of the Australian industrial hemp industry is bright, particularly since the passing of legislation that permits the use of industrial hemp seed and seed-driven products for human consumption,” said Mr McCue.

“This has opened the door for new market opportunities and projects such as the National Industrial Hemp Variety Trial have been established to help drive rapid industry growth,” said Mr McCue.

Industry growth must be underpinned by increased production in certified industrial hemp seed which requires (amongst other factors) attracting new producers to the industry with credible information about hemp varieties and their suitability for inclusion into farming systems in Australia.

The project is now entering the draft design phase following industry consultation (which involved national workshops and conversations) to identify, scope and cost a range of variety trial options, gauge industry support and negotiate co-investment from public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Independent corporate advisory firm, Rounding Up, is working in conjunction with the Australian industrial hemp industry, an industrial hemp steering committee and AgriFutures Australia with the intent of a business case to attract financial support to facilitate the commencement of the variety trials in late 2020.

As part of the consultation process a national survey is being circulated to industry to further validate findings and the intended approach to the national trials.

“Anyone with an interest in industrial hemp; from growers and processors, to researchers and enthusiasts, are invited to get involved in the project via the national survey. We’re seeking a broad cross section of input to shape the national variety trials and realise the potential of this dynamic emerging industry,” said Mr McCue.

A project update will be provided at the 2nd Australian Industrial Hemp Conference, along with a technical review of the trial model with a range of industry, research and commercial trial design experts. Preliminary data from the national survey will also be shared at the conference.

Complete the Australian industrial hemp survey

Event details

2nd Australian Industrial Hemp Conference
25-28 February 2020
Fremantle, Western Australia


Tony Eyres
Rounding Up, Principal
P: +61 429 069 072

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