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RENVILLE, Minn. — “Definitely a better crop than last year … more tonnage, better quality and we’re now into our 24-hour harvest schedule.” Th…

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At a July 8 meeting of the Industrial Hemp Exploratory Subcommittee of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC, the guest speaker was Todd Mathewson, a consultant for Just BioFiber. This Alberta, Canada firm is making a big splash in the building world with building blocks which look like concrete, but have picked up the trade name of Hempcrete … with hemp (hemp hurd) as the primary component — plus bio cement.

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Meanwhile, industrial hemp is rapidly getting traction in Minnesota with over 380 applications to grow the crop this year. That is 5,700 acres and about 800,000 square feet of indoor growing space, reported Margaret Wiatrowski.

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With many farmers struggling to make a buck, might becoming a hemp grower be a potential breakthrough? Such was the intrigue of a Nov. 15 breakfast workshop at the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative community room. The topic:  Industrial hemp value chain!

Blois Olson generated instant interest by talking the current political scene — both nationally and in Minnesota. Lots of ammunition for a political pundit in that arena. With the Corn Growers, he wasn’t bashful about throwing a few darts either.

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Mighty Axe raises eighty acres of that total in their rural Foley hops yard. Ben Boo of Mighty Axe says they are growing about 1,000 plants per acre. Boo says an acre of hops yields between 1,600 to 3,000 pounds of dried hops annually — depending on the hops variety and the season.