Farmers have been growing hemp in Ireland for 800 years, but now we are on the brink of a boom. It is used for many products as varied as food, clothing, and even building materials.
Ed Hanbidge, a hemp farmer from Wicklow, was recently featured on one of RTE’s longest-running shows – Ear to the Ground.
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Ed Hanbidge is one of more than seventy farmers cultivating hemp in Ireland today. His company, Keadeen Mountain Farms, partnered with Greenheart CBD to create some of the finest hemp CBD oil on the market.
Hemp has a myriad of uses but currently, Ed is after the high oil content. If licensing and legislation allows, Ed believes that there is a possible return of €10,000 (£8,446) per acre of hemp. Unfortunately, he also knows that he’s still a long way off from that.
The importance of transparency
Hemp and CBD are young industries, and there is still a lot the average customer doesn’t know. That’s why it’s important for companies to keep their customers in the loop so they can stay informed and make the right decisions.
Mark Canavan and Paul Walsh of Greenheart CBD talked about how important transparency is for their customers. They use a drone to fly over their crop which, using sensors, detects how well the hemp is doing. This information is then made readily available.
The future of hemp
At the end of 2018, hemp became a legalised industrial crop in the United States and the influence of that decision has spread globally. The worldwide hemp market is flourishing.
Barry Caslin of Teagasc, the Irish state body for agricultural research, says that Ireland still needs infrastructure for hemp. He believes that Ireland needs around “ten to fifteen” extraction plants to separate the fibres of the plant.
This is what’s needed to create food-grade material that can be marketed and exported from Ireland.
With more and more farmers becoming interested and increased global demand, hemp has a bright future ahead.
You can rewatch Ed Hanbidge on Ear to the Ground on the RTE Player – 23rd January.