A family-owned business located in Benton, Montana, is looking to expand its hemp business to include fiber production. IND HEMP is an independent producer of the crop. Currently, it only produces hemp for CBD and food.
According to the company’s lead Agronomist, Ben Brimlow, the new decortication factory will produce hemp fiber as a raw material to make insulation, textiles, and composite plastics.
During the factory’s groundbreaking ceremony that happened last week, Ben said that the company looks to reap from the increased interest in hemp fiber emanating from automakers. The agronomist also appreciated that hemp produces robust fibers that can be used for several purposes.
He said that major automaker players like BMW, Toyota, Ford Motor Company, and Mercedes Benz all use fiber extracted from plants. Some of these automakers are currently testing natural fibers as a potential replacement for petroleum-based fibers.
IND HEMP employs just 15 workers in their hemp seed facility in Ford Benton. With the new expansion, the company seeks to hire a further 35 personnel in the decortication factory. The new establishment is set to be opened in 2021. It is projected that it will process an impressive five tonnes of hemp stalks every hour that it operates.
Rick Morris, who is the Fort Benton mayor, welcomed IND HEMP’s expansion move. He termed it as something rare in rural Montana. The decortication factory is also seen as a positive sign for Montana’s hemp farmers.
Currently, IND HEMP gets its plants from a group made of family farms located in central Montana. This year, the state’s fields dropped by a massive 75% from 45000 registered acres to just 11000 acres. In a bid to reinstate last year’s yield, State Agriculture Director Ben Thomas suggests that the state universities should help the industry in research and development.