Diversifying Alberta’s agriculture sector

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A $300,000 grant has been allocated to the Alberta Hemp Alliance

The Alberta government is building a stronger agriculture sector by supporting the Alberta Hemp Alliance (AHA) with a one-time grant to establish a provincial industry association for hemp processing with more than $300,000 over two years through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The grant will help AHA build capacity to fulfil its mandate as the provincial association for the hemp industry in Alberta.

“Supporting the burgeoning hemp industry is important because it will provide producers new market opportunities and a way to diversify their rotation with this alternative crop. From seed to straw, the opportunities to sell this crop are growing, with value added products ranging from food to biofuel to bioplastics and construction materials,” said the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau. 

BCG sources hemp straw, which was previously seen as waste, from Alberta farmers. 

“Emerging industries like the hemp fibre sector are creating full-time local jobs and driving diversification in Alberta. It’s great to see BCG and the Alberta Hemp Alliance committed to rural revitalization and supporting our ambitious targets for job creation, investment attraction and increased agricultural and value-added exports,” said the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Devin Dreeshen.

“Hemp straw was previously just a waste product for growers. We have built the biggest hemp processing hub in North America, creating value-added products that we market internationally. I’m proud that BioComposites Group is an Alberta company working to find sustainable solutions in multiple industry sectors, increasing farm income and creating environmentally sustainable products,” said the CEO, BioComposites Group, Dan Madlung. 

“With this grant from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Alberta Hemp Alliance will continue to build a diverse and collaborative community of like-minded individuals, businesses and organizations to facilitate the rapid growth of the hemp industry in Alberta. We will continue to focus on facilitating market development and provide provincial networking, tools and resources,” said the Chair of the AHA, Corey Peebles.

Terrafibre products manufactured by BCG use Canadian-grown fibres that are decorticated, cleaned and manufactured in Alberta.

The company is planning to build a new facility to decorticate hemp and flax, and to manufacture insulation and green building products.

The project will take 18 to 24 months to complete, and will result in, $30-million investment, 100 direct, full-time jobs, crop diversification and income generation for farmers, and use straw that’s currently wasted.

In Alberta, the partnership has committed a federal-provincial investment of up to $406 million over five years toward strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to regional needs.

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