The hemp processing facility in Margaret River has begun processing locally grown hemp plants into materials for construction, textile and other industries.
Margaret River is a city of about 6,400 people about 270 kilometers by road south of Perth. While the region is already known for craft breweries and wineries, a new industry is emerging – hemp.
The first of its kind in Western Australia, and possibly the first in Australia to build Margaret River Hemp Processing, received $ 399,000 from the McGowan government’s Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund and Industrial Hemp Grants Scheme.
“The Margaret River hemp processing facility is up and running, opening a new and job-creating industry for the Southwest,” said WA Secretary of Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan. “Local processing is critical to fueling the burgeoning hemp industry in the southwest – it makes hemp a more valuable growing option.”
The plant will produce large and small schnitzel, fine fractions as well as dew-roasted and unroasted fibers.
The horde – the woody core of the stem of hemp plants – can be used for hemp concrete masonry, animal bedding and mulch products. Processing plant owners Gary Rogers and David Campbell have already built the first hemp-concrete house to use entirely locally grown and processed hemp. The hemp fiber produced at the facility can be used in a wide variety of products, including insulation and mattress pads.
Find out more about how hemp fiber is made here.
From food to fuels to textiles and medicines, hemp is arguably the most versatile crop in the world – and it’s great to see the West Australian government continue to support the fledgling industry.
The hemp industry in Western Australia is regulated by the state’s Industrial Hemp Act 2004. Licensed farmers can grow the crop, but the leaves and flower heads cannot contain more than 1.0% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an intoxicating cannabinoid. This gives hemp farmers in WA some advantage over those in some countries where the THC limit is far lower, allowing for a wider variety of strains to choose from.