Thursday, April 9, 2009

The case for Hemp in Mass

There are approximately 230, 000 acres of idle tillable farm land, according to the latest USDA 2007 senses. If half of that land or, 100,000 acres were cultivated with industrial hemp and processed in State, the net benefits would be nothing short of amazing. Farmer income would increase and agricultural land would be back in production. The plant needs no pesticides and is sustainable, making it ideal for reducing overall pesticide use and conserving precious drinking water and avoiding run off pollutants in our rivers and streams. The crops yields for 2006 according to Health Canada were impressive and clearly show the 5 separate but equally profitable by parts of the plant after harvesting that are used now for the manufacturing of everything from food, to motor oil, paper, clothing, health care products, building materials, heating and co generation fuels and literally hundreds of products that would be completely recyclable.

When Massachusetts farmers are growing 100,000 acres of industrial hemp, they would produce approximately, 33,000 tons of grain, which after pressing would generate 2,000,000 gallons of oil, which would leave 24,000 tons of meal. That same 100,000 acres would produce 266,000 tons of home heating pellets and would yield 63,000 tons of fiber which is used to make paper, cardboard, building materials, textiles and bioplastics..
In food and health care production alone, the most nutritious and healthiest food supplies can be made from hemp, including hemp milk that can be produced at lower costs and has less environmental impact than dairy milk and can be stored without refrigeration and is healthier than milk from cows. We are now importing 657 million dollars worth of Hemp food and health care products from Canada to fill the desire among Americans for food and health care products made from hemp
The estimated value of the harvested oil is today far and away the most environmental useful bi product of the plant. Not only is this oil used in the food supply but can be used directly as diesel motor fuel. The environmental impact in growing hemp for oil is a fraction of any damage to the earth done by mining for oil in our seas and our lands. Hemp oil is also a feedstock for bio diesel and high grade fuel research and production, like jet fuel and ethanol.
In terms of home heating, using hemp pellets, made from the stalk, would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and massive home heating price increases. Yields from 100,000 acres in terms of pellets would be enough to heat 53,000 homes in Massachusetts, cost less than wood pellets and be better for the environment, in terms of pollution. The same stalk material can be used as a feedstock for cellulosic bio fuels production, an additive to concrete, livestock bedding and hundreds more uses.

Perhaps the most sought after bi product of the plant is it’s fibers. Both long and short fibers are being used in all types of business across the globe today. Literally every wood product made today can be made of hemp fiber. Every clothing item in our closets can be made of hemp. All of our carpets, all of our cardboard and all of our paper needs can be made with hemp fiber, including all wood type building materials, with none of the toxins used today in manufacturing of wood pulp for the same purpose.

While Health Canada suggest the overall value to a farmer would be around $800.00 an acre. I submit the average would be closer to $1000.00 and if organically grown, the price would be around $1400.00 or more. The costs associated with growing hemp would be much lower than any other multi purpose biomass plant grown which would profit the farmers greatly. The cultivation of 100,000 acres of Hemp in Massachusetts would create 2000 jobs in farming, textiles, food processing, biodiesel and biofuels processing. It would also help reduce our carbon foot print considerably by heating homes with hemp pellets which would displace using 1.8 million barrels of crude oil to heat with, and be valued at an estimated 90 to 123 million dollars a year as a cash crop. And if 45 States grew 100,000 acres of hemp, for heating alone, the country will have not purchased 73.8 million barrels of crude oil and saved 3.7 billion dollars. Farming 100,000 acres of hemp in 45 States could represent a 17% reduction in President Obama’s plan to reduce oil imports by 20% . This country can ill afford the historically and proven uses of hemp and should let American farmers help grow our way back to energy and food self reliance.


At April 9, 2009 at 7:38 PM , Blogger Rich said...

Is all this really accurate? If it is, how come I never heard any of this stuff? Hell, I would grow this in the back yard if it really is as useful and valuable as you say it is. Can you back this up with any thing other than your word. Not that I doubt you, just looking for confirmation.

At April 10, 2009 at 8:32 AM , Blogger Linda and George said...

Jim what can we do to support this bill? I sent an email to Barney Frank, but do we also contact Richardson about this? What about the governor? THis seems like a no brainer to me, but then, if something is fair, equitable and reasonable here in MA, that does not necessarily mean it will get any support, often, it means the exact opposite. Keep us informed on what is happening and what we should do to support this.

At April 10, 2009 at 1:54 PM , Blogger Harry said...

That food and self-reliance stuff gets more and more important every single day we are in this crisis. Things are going to get ugly I'm afraid. Obama just asked for more money for wars, and we have people, children and the elderly, living in their cars, or the streets, going to bed hungry. THis crop sounds like it can help all of us, so lets do whatever it takes to get this bill passed. Pillsbury, what can I as a citizen do to move this forward?

At April 10, 2009 at 4:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must be missing something here. If this stuff is good for the environment, good for us health wise, good economically for farmers, then why are we not growing it? Oh yeah, one small catch, this is actually marajuana! Forgot to mention that, didn’t you. I know this is suppose to be different, but actually, isn’t it exactly the same thing and if we grow this, can’t we then smoke it and get a good buzz on too? You forgot to mention that part also. Do I see a pattern here?

At April 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM , Blogger Derek said...

Does the new president support this type of thing? I would think this ties in pretty directly with his green energy agenda. Where does ne stand on this? As to Anonymous's comments, what rock did you climb out from under? I am no expert and not well versed in Hemp, but I know there is a difference. Many states have already passed state laws allowing their farmers to grow hemp, can't do that if it were illegal pot. You need to pay attention here man, and if you don't know what you are talking about, then don't talk. Jim, give this idiot (Anon) an education on hemp, will ya?

At April 10, 2009 at 5:48 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Rich... just google hemp and you will see page after page of what hemp is, where it comes from, where its used today and it's historical place in this countries past and future.

It's all true...

At April 10, 2009 at 6:25 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


I would invite you to prove what you claim... and submit those facts here on the blog, for all to see.

In that absence the facts are, industrial hemp is not marijuana by the level of THC content. Industrial hemp the very same hemp that grows in all but this country, has THC levels, lower than .03 percent. The smokeable marijuana that millions and millions of us enjoy is around 5 to 7% content THC. You can smoke all the hemp you can roll up, and never get more than a headache and never get high. That's a indisputable fact.

Also, products made from hemp, food, clothing, pellets, building products, etc etc, etc, have no measurable THC at all, so.. you can't smoke your favorite hemp T shirt.

I invite you to come down from the mountain and stop by Whole Foods. Walk down most of the isles and see how many products are sold there that have hemp in them.

Also, as I asked Rich to do, google hemp and spend a few days reading about hemp. Why it's illegal in this country. Where it is grown now. How much we import in hemp food products. Take a test ride in a Mercedes and ask the sales man about how much hemp fiber is in the dashboard or door panels.

Lastly... would you really think a congressman of any ilk, would propose a bill that would allow a plant to be grown that we could get high from?

One of the best recent white papers was published by Reason.. check it out.. and report back to me when finished.
There will be a test

Get on board annon, the train is moving out. President Obabma, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak, all American farmers and the vast majority of level headed Americans understand the difference between the two and I hope you will understand the difference very soon.

At April 11, 2009 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

check out the wholesale price lists for hemp boards

This company has recently developed a process of removing the fiber from the hemp plant using enzymes. This will be a 10 million dollar company in a few years and shows what level of science has come to the hemp plant. Not a bad stock buy either.

This year, farmers in this country will grow, around 58 million acres of wheat, 85 million acres of corn, 8 million acres of cotton, 76 million acres of soybeans. Over 7 million acres of farmland will not be grown this year. All I say is, let farmers grow 4.5 million acres of hemp in unused farm land and see what a major impact it would have on our economy.

At April 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Linda and George,

I am in the process of creating a Mass Hemp Bill and when it comes out, I'll let everyone know.

In the meantime, not that Congressman Markey has ever listened to his constituents, unless the contribute to his campaign, you can write him and ask him to sponsor the American Hemp Farm Bill now in Congress, because it the wright thing to do for our economy.

At April 12, 2009 at 5:19 PM , Blogger John said...

All of this is a great idea, but if no one in the MA political arena supports it, then it won’t make any difference here in MA. From what you say here, you have to have the law on the books in your state for this to work here, and we don’t have that law. Why would Barney Frank sponsor a bill that won’t benefit his constituents in MA? And as far as why do politicians do things, what is the deal with Richardson? Now she backs down? Who got to her? Did she actually make that move about immigration without consulting with the party people, and if she did, then clearly she is dumber than a doornail!

At April 13, 2009 at 8:33 AM , Blogger 50 stud said...

Nice idea but without the law in MA, what difference does it make to us? We need to start thinking locally, not nationally. What is in the works that is going to help us here in Framingham?

At April 13, 2009 at 9:36 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


without the feds reclassifying hemp, no State could grow it. It's my opinion that the feds will indeed pass the Hemp Farming Bill and when they do, States will want to have farmers grow it.

Here in Mass, if this were to happen, among other things, we would be able to heat our homes and businesses with hemp heating pellets and this would also allow coal burning electricity generating plants here in Mass to burn hemp biomass along with coal and reduce the amount of pollutants in the air.

BioMass creates now more electricity than all of wind and solar does and the Obama administration has recognized the importance for BioMass, (non food agriculture) in it's goal of reducing oil important's and generating 20% of this countries energy needs.

100,000 acres of hemp in this state could heat 53,000 homes... that's a whole lot of home heating oil. Not to mention the oil derived from the seed that could power diesel engine vehicles.

We are acting locally, but need to feds to act nationally first.

At April 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your argument for having the feds act first makes sense. Do we have the support in MA to make this happen here if the Feds do in fact pass this, or will the AG here, Coakley be able to stop any attempt we make to grow this in MA? Seems that she has an awful lot of power, and even more money, at her disposal. She worries me.

At April 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Good points annon...

Coakley may try to have some influence on this, but passage of the Feds Bill clearly makes it easy for the States to enact their own laws regarding growing hemp.

Coakley is eyeing Senator Kennedy's seat and she'll need every drop of money she has to get it... if he doesn't pass on in mid term and have Deval appoint a replacement.

At January 2, 2017 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Yaz Fula said...

Hi Jim I see you haven't blogged since 2009. I hope you are still passionate about hemp as I am. Question: I am looking to purchase a biomass pellet mill to make pellets for bio fuel using corn, alfalfa, etc. Can you suggest a machine. I want to learn the process as I am working with other like minds with a vision to bring hemp to America and will shortly be able to process and import here whereupon I will change to hemp pellet production.

Thanks so much


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