August 27, 2020
IND HEMP was honored to welcome Fort Benton, Montana Mayor Rick Morris and U.S. Senator Jon Tester to share in the ground breaking and announcement of the industrial hemp fiber processing and decortication plant being built in Fort Benton. This plant is located adjacent to the current state-of-the-art IND HEMP Oilseeds food grade hemp seed processing plant and will create new opportunities for our farmers, jobs for the community, and a reliable and scalable supply chain partner for businesses of all types looking to use natural hemp fibers in their products.
“I can’t say enough how big of a deal this is” says Fort Benton Mayor Rick Morris. “Stuff like this just doesn’t come along for rural Montana. We’ve been searching and searching and searching and to have this come along and show up and have a ground breaking today is truly a big deal. I’m glad IND HEMP is here. They’ve been great to work with and I look forward to working with them in the future.”
IND HEMP sees fiber processing as the next step in supporting our farmers and creating new opportunities in our community and for domestic industries with industrial hemp. Montana is already a national leader in hemp grain production – IND HEMP has over 9,000 acres under contract currently in 2020 and something must be done with the residual straw even from those grain plants. Some growers had already been baling that straw from past seasons. Processing this straw into useable green building and other products is win-win for our farmers and our planet.
“I remember it had been several years ago, Mr. Mayor, you had mentioned to me you were thinking of getting an industrial hemp site here, and I like most people at the time said, yeah, Rick, I’ll believe it when I see it… well we’re seeing it.” U.S. Senator Jon Tester said addressing those gathered. “But with any industrial park, you need to have an anchor business and this is that anchor businesses. I think it’s going to do some amazing things for creating jobs and for creating products, that you wouldn’t normally associate with Fort Benton, Montana.”
The IND HEMP Fiber processing plant is being built around a 5 ton an hour decortication line built by world renowned fiber company Laroche. Decortication is the process of separating the long outside bast fibers from the inner woody core, or hurd, of the hemp plant. This separation is the crucial first step in converting bales of hemp fibers into clean and consistent useable constituents. This project is on track with a target commissioning date in early Q3 2021. IND HEMP will commission this production line with baled hemp grain straw from the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons and will begin contracting purpose-grown fiber varieties along with dual cropped grain-fiber varieties for the 2021 production season.
The combined IND HEMP Oilseed and Fiber processing plants in Fort Benton will create upwards of 50 jobs and support 30,000 acres of industrial hemp production.
Check out some of the coverage of this groundbreaking event: