Industrial Hemp- Erosion Control Fiber of the Future?
Dave Jenkins, CPESC
Hemp was the primary fiber source for thousands of years, used to make rope, clothing , and sail canvas. George Washington grew hemp and encouraged others to do the same because of its beneficial uses. Up until 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in the U.S., levying taxes on commercial hemp production, hemp fiber was used extensively.
The United States recently legalized hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, which for over 50 years has been classed as a controlled substance along with LSD, heroin and marijuana. With legalization, hemp revenue is expected to grow by 27% annually accordingly to the Motley Fool.
Some of the commercial uses of hemp fiber include twine, rope, nets, canvas, geotextiles, paper, cardboard, and composites, materials that are also used in the erosion control industry.
Hemp fiber cultivation may provide a beneficial income stream for farmers, environmentally sustainable fiber source for numerous commercial products and become another useful tool in the erosion control toolbox.