The Keystone State announces a new grant program to support hemp marketing and consumer awareness.
On Monday, officials in Pennsylvania introduced a new grant program that will provide up to $200,000 in matching funds for marketing projects designed to further the development of the state’s hemp market.
According to the statement released by the PA Dept. of Agriculture, all non-profit organizations that promote marketing programs to increase hemp sales, exports, or awareness of the sector in the cannabis industry among consumers will be eligible for reimbursement funds.
In a press release, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding shares, “Hemp has presented a unique opportunity to grow an industry from the ground up, supplying seemingly limitless sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products. These grants will feed a new industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for farm income and jobs as well as new possibilities for climate-friendly, environmentally beneficial products.”
"Hemp has presented a unique opportunity to grow an industry from the ground up, supplying seemingly limitless sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products. These grants will feed a new industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for farm income and jobs as well as new possibilities for climate-friendly, environmentally beneficial products.”
- PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding
The purpose of the program is threefold:
(1) Increase consumer awareness of agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth, thereby increasing sales of these agricultural hemp products.
(2) Educate producers and consumers concerning agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth.
(3) Otherwise, facilitate the growth and development of export markets for agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth.
In order to qualify for matching funds, a non-profit company will need to have started a hemp marketing initiative on or after July 1 of this year. Furthermore, the project must be completed by June 30, 2023. The department will match funds for entities that spend at least $1,000. Applications must be submitted online by December 2, 2022, and applicants will be chosen competitively.
The potential appeal of hemp as a multi-purpose crop has caught the eye and purse strings of the federal government as well. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a report on the hemp industry boom in Europe. Among several findings, the study recognized the versatile cannabis crop as an increasingly valuable economic commodity that could aid the continent in achieving its aggressive climate-related goals.
Likewise, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has also granted Texas A&M University $3.47 million to support a project to 3D print hemp-based building materials known as “hempcrete.” With its primary focus being on facilitating the construction of affordable housing.
Additionally, the agency announced late last year that it would be sponsoring a project designed to develop hemp fiber insulation that is better for the environment and public health than conventional materials.
Last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also announced that it was awarding a $100,000 grant to support the development of sustainable bricks made from industrial hemp to a Washington State-based company.
Furthermore, the House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders have included multiple hemp provisions in recent spending legislation fostering the study of hemp as an environmentally friendlier alternative to plastics.
It is clear that the impact of hemp as a dynamic crop alternative for farmers, not only in Pennsylvania but across the United States and the rest of the world, is being recognized, cultivated, and rewarded at all levels of government.
Moreover, as its ability to aid in developing environmentally better alternatives in manufacturing and construction is further honed, the growth and reach of this extraordinary plant will only increase and inspire. From producing potentially beneficial health and wellness products to innovations across various industries, hemp could be vital in diversifying and strengthening the American economy and a crucial element in helping heal our ailing planet.