This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Amanda Jeffery
On July 7 the Alberta Government announced funds for a local initiative amounting to $365,000 over the next two years.
Alberta Hemp Alliance (AHA) President, Corey Peebles, said this grant will help build capacity in the hemp industry in the province. "Our primary role is advocacy, education about the industry and just helping Alberta diversify," said Peebles.
The announcement came following a tour of the BioComposites Group plant in Drayton Valley. MLA Mark Smith and the Minister of Agriculture, Devin Dreeshen, attended the tour along with Mayor Michael Doerksen, Reeve Bart Guyon and other dignitaries.
The BioComposites Group was established in Drayton Valley as part of the BioMile project. Originally Dan Madlung, the owner of the BCG, said they were looking at using the leftover wood fiber from the sawmill before they decided to go with hemp.
Madlung said the AHA is a group that brings different industry experts together. He said he's already in meetings with farmers from different parts of the province.
"We are the largest hemp fiber producer in North America," said Madlung. He said that he doesn't yet have the staff that he can go out and track down farmers who are interested in being involved. That's where the AHA comes in, and he said their actions help to benefit his company.
The AHA was formed several years ago and was originally a group of municipalities and other parties in the Drayton Valley and Devon area. It has since grown and now includes members from other parts of the province.
"It's great to see the ingenuity, the entrepreneurship, the leadership that's shown here today," said Dreeshen."It's exciting to announce that the province of Alberta is supporting the Alberta Hemp Alliance's effort to establish a provincial industry association for hemp processing with a one time grant of over $300,000 over the next two years."
Dreeshen said the BioComposites Group has built the largest hub in North America for processing hemp. Part of that was achieved with the help of a grant of one million dollars from the province over the last few years.
"We believe this industry is going to create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs over the next ten years," said Peebles. "The key players, who have been in this from the beginning, are set to do very well."
One of the hurdles that has to be overcome is the way that hemp is viewed in Canada. Peebles said right now it's not an agricultural item. Instead, farmers who wish to grow it have to have a special medical license. Peebles hopes to have it fall under the agriculture wing, which will make it much easier for farmers to get a hold of the seed.
"There's a number of things that we need to overcome, but Alberta is already leading the way," he said.
Peebles said the hope is that in the next five to ten years hemp will be a billion dollar industry.
I'm a writer in the pets, parenting, book, safety, journalism, and mental health niches. I've been writing for 15 years, but over 2 years professionally.
I'm a mom of two teenage boys, a wife and owner of two rescued beagles. In my spare time I like to read, write creatively or cross stitch.