Hemp Farming Systems (HFS) is a consultancy partnership. It is based in Australia, but will work with farmers, anywhere, to help them grow industrial hemp as a component of sustainable and productive farming systems.
Industrial hemp has been grown by Eurasian farmers for more than 10,000 years. Some communities saw it as a source of fibre, others stayed healthy by eating the grain. Early entrepreneurs turned it into paper – as soon as writing was invented.
But now, new industries are developing around the unique properties of this plant – plastics, construction materials, components of motor vehicles, and many more. The HFS team can demonstrate cutting edge national and international agricultural experience, and has worked intensively with farmers growing hemp for biomass (fibre, etc.), seed, and grain (food and oil) over the past 8 years.
What Does Hemp Farming Systems Do?
HFS works with farmers to maximize hemp productivity in regions where the crop is already well established. It has a special interest in extending the range of this crop into new environments.
HFS Converts Information into Knowledge and Knowledge into Profits
Should hemp be grown close to markets or should processors import hemp products from outside their area? Whichever way this argument goes an increased understanding of hemp’s many benefits has resulted in production extending from traditional growing zones. Soil type, day length, varietal adaptation, seed availability, rainfall pattern, and local variations in pest and disease incidence, are all considered within the overarching context of the changing climate. These issues form the matrix of uncertainty through which HFS can guide farmers. Perhaps there are also unknown unknowns.
Farmers who are on the verge of sowing their first crop may need to develop a mental model of what they might be getting into. HFS can go through the whole process with them. Simple computer simulations can be applied to produce a profile of the agronomic and financial issues. They can also provide guidance about the development of a farming system that includes hemp.
HFS has a growers’ guide, organizes workshops for growers, and is available via email or Facebook to deal with issues in real time. However, the preferred place of action is in the fields – walking in and around crops, offering one on one advice or helping with field days on a season-long or one-off basis.
Counsel on Organic or Conventional Growing Methods
The development of ‘pesticide-free’ food crops is a key issue and HFS is qualified to contribute meaningfully.
- Seed, grain and biomass processors
- Growers who are new to the crop and those who are well established
- Honey producers
- International seed suppliers and distributors
- The Australian Industrial Hemp Association AIHA Inc. (member)
- Hemp Victoria (formerly Industrial Hemp Association of Victoria)
- The West Australian Hemp Growers Cooperative Ltd
- The agricultural research sector.