Hemp is a plant species grown as a crop for the industrial use of its derived products. It is one of the oldest plants in the world and can be grown in a variety of different climates. It naturally does not require a pesticide and can keep pests away from plants even months after it has been harvested. Also, it can be successful in many different types of soil and can mature in about 3-4 months.
Hemp is native to Central Asia and has been used for its fiber for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations in Asia and Europe used it for rope, paper, clothing, and other fibrous uses. Ancient China even made hemp shoes! In the middle ages, people began using it as a dietary supplement for its fiber. It became especially popular during the colonial era for shipbuilding and naval uses. It is also one of the fastest growing plants, going from seed to harvest in less than half a year. This makes it far more rapidly renewable than wood and cotton fiber. We use the entire hemp crop, from its inner woody core, to its fiber, to its seeds. Its modern applications include oils, foods, alcohols, animal bedding, cosmetics, milk, clothing, and backpacks. Even hemp sunscreen has emerged onto the market as a hot commodity.
Hemp is a variation of the Cannabis sativa species of plant. While the psychoactive drug marijuana is the same species of plant, they are as similar as two breeds of dogs are. The industrial hemp seeds used by Sunstrand have been bred for producing high-quality natural bio-materials. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. According to the Ministry of Hemp, “Your lungs will fail before your brain attains any high from smoking industrial hemp.”
This plant is truly a part of American history. The early colonies, including Plymouth and Richmond, grew hemp as a main cash crop. It stayed as a main cash crop for southern states for centuries.Hemp supplies were integral to Revolutionary War effort, and George Washington himself grew it at Mount Vernon. Many Founding Fathers, including Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, also farmed hemp. During World War II, it was used extensively, especially by the government, to make uniforms, canvas, and rope. The film Hemp for Victory encouraged farmers to grow as much as possible for the war effort. After the war, however, hemp became a controlled substance due to its association with marijuana. In recent decades, regulation has become relaxed and the legalization of industrial hemp has sparked a wildfire.
In 2015, the industry estimated $600 million in annual sales of hemp-related products, with year on year growth. According to Forbes, the industry could grow to $450 million by 2020. Today, Kentucky is one of the pioneer states of industrial hemp production, along with Oregon, Colorado, California, and New York. Kentucky has been a key producer since colonial times. During World War II, production stepped up to another level where it has remained as the countries primary producer. As of early 2018, 34 states have passed legislation for industrial hemp pilot programs, often partnering with universities.
In March 2018, Senator Mitch McConnell proposed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 which would remove hemp from the controlled substances list and recognize it as a normal crop among farmers. If this act is passed, hemp has the potential to take the top spot once again. As of June 2018, the Farming Committee of the Senate has passed the Hemp Farming Act and the full Senate vote will commence shortly.
Sunstrand sources its seeds to be the gold standard for industrial hemp worldwide. Our crops comply with all DEA regulations and are grown and harvested by local farmers here in America, supporting the community and agricultural base. We are devoted to our local farmers and provide them with a unique opportunity to generate revenues for environmental markets with price premiums by utilizing acres that have not been generating revenue. Our headquarters are in Louisville, Kentucky, a historically important world hemp producer. We take the crops and separate them into hurd and fiber, then apply each to various industries.
Our hurd, due to its qualities including low density and high absorbency, is a prime biofiller for composites such as plastics, a key component of hempcrete and can be made into our CoreBoard building materials. Also, larger size hurd particles are ideal for gardening, spray up molding, and animal bedding, whether that be for the thoroughbred horses at Churchill Downs to a small guinea pig cage.
Our fiber is used to make nonwoven mats, such as natural insulation, acoustic mats, filters, natural house wrap, and car panels. We are constantly innovating, and discovering new uses for our products, in an effort to make more and more everyday items both sustainable and efficient through Sunstrand. Our products have applications in the construction, automotive, electrical and electronics, cosmetics, recreation, oil & gas, and various other industries.
Hemp, like all of our products, is rapidly-renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. Our SUNstainability Promise guarantees quality and ethical, environmentally consciously sourced products.