Canadian Rockies Hemp Corp. receives funding to support Canada’s efforts to become a leader in the global hemp
fiber and sustainable inputs markets. 

June 23, 2022

This summer, in partnership with Results Driven Agriculture Research, Canadian Rockies Hemp is trialing multiple hemp varieties to advance the Canadian hemp fiber market.

June 22, 2022 - Bruderheim, Alberta – Growing hemp for fiber has been a limited industry in Canada for many years, largely due to gaps in the hemp fiber supply chain – specifically there were no commercial processors in Canada. However, in 2022 Canadian Rockies Hemp Corporation (CRHC) commissioned Canada’s largest commercial hemp fiber processing facility in Bruderheim, AB. The global market demand for sustainable green products has increased substantially and CRHC is stepping up to help meet this demand. 

 

However, another significant gap in the supply chain exists – there is a lack of hemp varieties / seed in Canada for fiber production. Most of the approved hemp varieties in Canada are for grain production, not fiber, and the difference significantly impacts profits for farmers and CRHC’s ability to expand its feedstock production. Current hemp cultivation in Canada is almost entirely for hemp grain (food) production. Farmers growing hemp for grain combine the hemp plant for seed and then must manage the residual straw (fiber) left on the fields. They can bale the straw but without a buyer many farmers are forced to leave hemp bales sitting on farms, waiting for a purchaser, or burn the straw.  

 

To solve this problem, CRHC is leading a large-scale research project, with funding assistance from Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments. This project will trial hemp varieties that are specifically for growing fiber, with the goal of adding varieties to Canada’s current List of Approved Cultivars (LOAC) varieties. 

 

Seed breeding programs strive to bring farmers the best genetics to service their needs. Those needs are constantly changing as the environment, pests, yield potentials, and market demands shift. Although hemp has been grown in Canada since 1998 and is now one of the largest producing countries in the world, nearly all hemp cultivation is for grain production, which has resulted in demand for high performing “grain” type varieties. Desired grain traits include short stature, bushy branching, low bast content, and high seed yield. However, the desired traits for hemp grain cultivation are the opposite of the traits that are desirable for single-purpose fiber production. The hemp fiber industry requires a variety (ideally multiple varieties) that are high yielding, high bast fiber content, monopodial (single stalk, no branching), and have a later maturity date.

“This project will find, certify, and expand industrial hemp varieties with the desired fiber traits to give farmers and processors exactly what they need to take hemp fiber production to another level in Canada” explained CRHC CEO Aaron Barr, “these fiber varieties are the foundation of a strong and successful Canadian hemp fiber market and will enable Canada to enter and become a leader in the global hemp fiber and sustainable raw markets”.  

This summer, CRHC will grow and evaluate the three most commonly available (LOAC approved) Canadian dual-purpose hemp varieties against one Canadian bred “fiber dominant” variety, and a specialty Ukrainian bred varietal in commercial-sized trial plots in different soil types in North / Central / Eastern Alberta.  

 

When asked about the research project Clinton Dobson, RDAR Research Director said, “we have a unique opportunity here in Alberta, with our favorable climate, bolstered with our supportive and innovative scientific research community will ensure the growth of the hemp industry; to play an increasingly important role in our economy, creating jobs and generating value-added products for exports”. 

In many high value cultivation areas, the current yield potential of LOAC approved hemp varieties does not allow for single-purpose hemp fiber cultivation to be an economically viable crop. The results of this project will increase feasibility and profitability at the farm and primary processing level for hemp fiber production in the Prairies. Increasing the overall biomass yield and fiber percentage yield is key to the long-term success and financial sustainability of hemp fiber production on the Prairies.  

 

About Canadian Rockies Hemp Corporation 

Canadian Rockies Hemp Corporation (CRHC) is an agribusiness, operating in Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada. Processing hemp fiber at scale, at its core, CRHC is building towards a sustainable and profitable future for generations to come. Processed hemp is quickly becoming a prominent commodity in many local and global industries, such as textile, pulp and paper, automobile, animal bedding, rope and twine, building and insulation, composites, and many more. More details can be found at canadianrockieshemp.com  

About RDAR 

RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the competitiveness, profitability, productivity, and sustainability of agriculture in Alberta. As a not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program. More details can be found at rdar.ca  

CRHC Media Inquiries: 

Katie Penstone 

VP Communications 

Canadian Rockies Hemp Corporation 

k.penstone@canadianrockieshemp.com  

 

RDAR Media Inquiries: 

Janada Hawthorne 
Communications Lead 
Results Driven Agriculture Research 
780-903-2734 
janada.hawthorne@rdar.ca