hemp · madeinusa · sustainability ·
American Hemp – renewing a lost industry
Hemp has its roots deep in human history and is widely acknowledged as one of the first agricultural crops. Use of hemp cordage was found in ruins of a village in modern day Taiwan dating over 10,000 years old. Hemp textiles and fine hemp cloth was woven by the Chinese as early as 1500 BCE. The crop slowly moved its way out of Asia and into Europe, with ancient Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder writing about both hemp’s industrial, and pain-relieving effects. Another 1500 years later and hemp had solidified itself as a major crop of the American colonies. Both industrially, and medicinally, hemp played a major role in American society until nearly the mid 20th Century, when the intoxicant effects and the recent prohibition of alcohol resulted in a total outlaw on the growth, sale, and use of the crop. A couple generations of farmers later, and the American hemp industry is nearly decimated. In December of just last year, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was passed after over tens years of legislative back and forth, and hemp is finally legal to grow across America.
With that being said, the road ahead is challenging and uncertain. China has been cashing in on the industrial crop for decades now, exporting nearly 50% of the world’s hemp. Production in China has streamlined infrastructure for processing the plant, often on the farm itself. In the US, none of that efficiency exists. Farmers are excited about the opportunity to grow a more valuable crop, but there is no processing plant to send it off to, let alone processing equipment to buy. This leaves the industry scratching its head on how to move forward with an unfamiliar crop and break through into this profitable and environmentally beneficial new space.1
Additionally, while textile hemp is more profitable than traditional crops like corn and soy, hemp for CBD production (oil and seeds), is vastly more profitable, though labor and cost intensive. The only company in the US that does in fact process hemp for textiles has a raw material shortage.2 Apparel companies in the US have been importing cost effective hemp from China for years, and some are skeptical there will ever be high demand in the fashion world for domestic hemp.
As a brand committed to being made in USA, we are very excited about the future of hemp in America and look forward to the resurgence of the American Hemp industry.
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