How The Green Economy Will Prosper Through America’s Agricultural Engine
The agriculture industry can create more economic opportunities than any other sector because of sustainability mandates.
By 2030, most companies have goals and initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint by at least 20%-30%. By 2050, most major companies have committed to be net-zero carbon. The trend line is moving toward carbon reduction which means that agricultural businesses are sitting in the driver’s seat.
Plants grow through photosynthesis, which uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen. Photosynthesis is nature’s carbon dioxide conversion tool. And, it will become an important tool for large corporations and investment firms that want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Most of us learned about photosynthesis when we were in middle school. Over the next few years, we all seemed to forget that photosynthesis creates the oxygen we need to survive.
The agricultural revolution started somewhere around 12,000 years ago. This happened when humans went from hunter and gatherers to settlers. We started to domesticate plants and animals.
This transition towards agriculture brought with it the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People now had reliable food and shelter, which gave them the time and energy needed to solve other problems.
The agricultural revolution 12,000 years ago was the wild-wild west. People were domesticating plants and animals in innovative ways. This created huge opportunities for generational wealth creation.
So, one would think that the days of the massive opportunities in the agriculture business are long gone. Fortunately, that’s far from the truth.
The Big Fish of Big Ag
Today, there are a few huge hitters in the agriculture industry. The three most notable ones are:
- Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
ADM owns the flax supply chain, Cargill is the largest private company on the planet, and Monsanto created the modern-day corn business. These companies have created massive infrastructure to support the farmers that provide the crops and livestock that humans rely on to survive.
Crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat have been creating the foundation of large agriculture operations for generations. Most farmers use these crops (amongst others) in a rotation, meaning that they farm different crops on different fields each year. This helps to keep the soil balanced and nutrient-rich.
That land has been passed down from generation to generation. And today, this generation is expected to carry on the tradition that was set forth hundreds of years ago.
But, the new generation is starting to wonder what crops they can lean on that not only pay the bills but also leave a positive impact on the planet.
The Next Frontier in Big Agriculture
The traditional row crops like corn, wheat, and soy will always be around. They are staples of the food supply chains both domestically and abroad.
Where farmers can find opportunities for innovation are in the crops that are relatively unexplored.
Luckily, the 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for the legalization of industrial hemp. Initially, most farmers focused on CBD. This turned out to be a fatal mistake for the greater “hemp” industry and turned many farmers away from the crop.
But, industrial hemp is much different than CBD. The CBD market is limited to pharmaceuticals. The industrial hemp market is limited to everything you can see around you.
For over 10,000 years, the hemp plant has been known for its strong fibers. This is the first time that farmers have been able to leverage the infinite strengths of the hemp plant.
4 Ways Farmers Win With Industrial Hemp
The hemp plant has been used for hundreds of years as a cover crop that prevents soil degradation and weeds from popping up. The roots of the hemp plant can enhance soil health by sucking up toxins and making nitrogen-rich soil.
Some farmers even use hemp for bioremediation to decontaminate soil after pollution.
Industrial hemp reduces the need for synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Industrial hemp has also been known to reduce the need for water and fertilizers.
Industrial hemp is a resilient crop that can withstand rapid change in temperatures, as well as wind storms and rainstorms. Traditional crops will die when the stem is bent/snapped, industrial hemp has the ability to keep growing.
Industrial hemp is one of the fastest growing crops and provides more biomass per acre than traditional crops. Industrial hemp can even increase the yields of other plants that are grown on the same acreage the following year.
According to global research, industrial hemp sequesters more carbon dioxide per acre than any other crop. With the right partner, Industrial hemp crops can yield farmers more revenue per acre than traditional crops like corn, wheat, and soy.
What Do Farmers Need To Do?
Fortunately, industrial hemp is a relatively easy crop to grow. With the right standard operating procedures, farmers can reduce the amount of time, money, and energy they put into their farms. Without the standard operating procedures, we have seen equipment breakdown and significant crop losses for farmers, like any other industry.
With a little bit of sunlight, rain, and wind, industrial hemp will grow very tall very quickly. Most farmers will see at least 8-10 feet worth of growth in the first 60 days.
The most labor-intensive process that farmers have to focus on is the planting and harvesting processes. And, even with that, these processes are all managed with equipment that’s already sitting on most farms today.
The only thing that farmers need to do that they aren’t already doing today is following the standard operating procedures that are tried and true for industrial hemp crops.
Other Stakeholders That Can Benefit From Industrial Hemp
One industrial hemp supply chain can have a meaningful impact on a city, state, and region.
As a processor goes to set up infrastructure, typically they look for their farmers and customers to be within a 300 to 500-mile radius. This keeps the cost of shipping relatively low.
If hemp materials are shipped in their raw format further than 500 miles, the cost of the material goes up significantly. This is a benefit to create regional competition in the industrial hemp market. If supply chains have to be within a certain radius, then a supply chain in Michigan and a supply chain in China will (most likely) never compete.
Regional industrial hemp material suppliers will start popping up all over the world over the next 10 years. This is great for local economies all over the world.
Here are just a few of the local stakeholders that will find value when an industrial hemp supply chain is built within a local region.
- Employment – An industrial hemp operation will create jobs throughout the supply chain. This includes local hiring for farming, logistics, manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering, product development, and other roles.
- Manufacturing – An industrial hemp supply chain will allow manufacturers to use local materials that lower the weight, cost, and carbon footprint of the products they’re already producing.
- Community – Local communities will have cleaner air and a thriving economy that integrates the manufacturing community with the agricultural community.
- Government – Local policymakers will be able to see, first hand, the impact that bio-based materials make on the communities they serve.
- Associations – Local business leaders will have access to new resources that they didn’t previously have access to.
- Consumers – local buyers will be able to know that they’re supporting their community while reducing their carbon footprint.
- Raw Material Suppliers – Local material suppliers in plastics, rubbers, and building materials can use industrial hemp to increase the performance and reduce the carbon footprint of the materials they’re already selling.
- Recycling Companies – Local recyclers can tap into bio-based materials to incorporate into their products that are put right back into the local community.
There are also other ancillary benefits to bringing in an industrial hemp supply chain. With increased employment in a region comes all the ancillary services within society.
Increased employment will also increase the per capita income of local areas. More people making more money equates to increased spending at local stores and restaurants.
For local governments, this means increased tax revenue on both income and spending.
How Industrial Hemp Changes The World
There is no doubting the economic impact of the green economy on local communities. Companies like Heartland are building a replication model that would allow them to build industrial hemp supply chains in local communities around the world.
The land outside of cities is typically less expensive and can be used to create valuable resources like industrial hemp that cities can lean on to drive economic growth.
The Heartland team sees industrial hemp as a key driver of economic growth in local regions for decades to come.
With the right team in place, industrial hemp can change the way we live, forever. We are just at the starting line of the revolution that will fundamentally shift the materials and products we use every day.
Join us in making a world out of hemp.