Carbon

HFA CEO says hemp offers big carbon-credit opportunities

Susan Webster, April 29, 2024

Lauchlan Grout addresses the conference held in the Hunter Valley earlier this month. Photo: HFA

AROUND 900,000 annual carbon credits could be activated by using industrial hemp as a rotation crop in NSW and Queensland, according to an industry leader.

Addressing a national conference in NSW earlier this month, vice-chair of the Australian Hemp Council Lauchlan Grout said the fast-growing, low-THC plant had multiple benefits as a break crop and carbon-harvester.

“We’ve identified more than 60,000ha of untapped potential in Queensland and New South Wales,” Mr Grout, also chief executive officer of Hemp Farms Australia, Australia’s largest hemp seed supplier, said.

“Imagine the possibilities if we were to implement crop rotations in these regions. We’re looking at a staggering 900,000 carbon credits annually, based on our calculations of 15 tonnes/ha.

“Hemp has a remarkable bioaccumulation mechanism.

“Unlike any other crop, hemp possesses the extraordinary ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at an astonishing rate.

“This, coupled with its rapid growth rate, renders hemp a formidable player in our fight against climate change.”

He said potential benefits for producers include diversified revenue streams, as well as improved soil fertility and less herbicide use.

Mr Grout described hemp as “a multi-tasking marvel”.

“Not only does it sequester carbon, but it also undertakes the noble task of soil remediation, effortlessly removing heavy metals from contaminated soils.

“Its deep-reaching root system further enhances this process, enriching the soil and fortifying its structure for future agriculture.

“Peer-reviewed studies resoundingly support hemp’s prowess in carbon sequestration and soil remediation.”

He said hemp’s benefits extend to mining, energy and water corporations.

“Hemp’s ability to absorb heavy metals from soil and its potential for biofuel production positions it as a lucrative venture for eco-conscious corporations.

By incorporating hemp into supply chains, corporations can bolster their sustainability credentials, tap into burgeoning markets and drive innovation in renewable technologies.”

Recent national trials conducted by AgriFutures Australia grew industrial hemp on sites from Qld to Tasmania and South Australia, comparing the performance of overseas varieties with HFA’s Australian-derived Ruby variety.

Ruby outperformed most of the other varieties across a range of criteria and across a majority of the sites.

Addressing the Australian Industrial Hemp Conference audience at the conference, held in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Mr Grout said: “The geographic flexibility of hemp is impressive, it thrives from arid plains to temperate regions.

“Hemp is not just another crop.

“Its rapid growth and ease of cultivation make it a practical choice for agriculturalists seeking sustainable solutions.

“The potential of industrial hemp to revolutionise our agricultural practices and combat climate change cannot be overstated.”

Hemp Farms Australia was established in 2013, and since 2021 has been part of the Lee family’s Australian Country Choice business headquartered in Brisbane.

Source: HFA

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