Meet the founders of IND HEMP- Ken, Julie and Morgan Elliott and sit down for an intimate discussion of what motivated this family to start contracting farmers to grow industrial hemp grain for hemp seed foods and the motivations behind building an industry around hemp in Montana.
Ken shares of his 30+ year history in the environmental cleanup business, cleaning up all sorts of contaminated industrial sites, including mining, oil and gas, military, chemical plants, etc. In 2011 he purchases a superfund site on the Fort Peck reservation in Wolf Point, Montana with intentions to clean up the site, convert it into a green energy refinery and create jobs for the community and those on the reservation.
Well, that didn’t all work out as planned, but in the process, Ken evaluated what type of cleanup model could work for that site. He had heard about industrial hemp being used for phytoremediation to cleanup the Chernobyl radiation and started exploring using hemp. In 2014, the Farm Bill allowed for industrial hemp production in the US for research and Ken obtained the fist license to grow hemp in the state of Montana.
Meanwhile, Ken’s daughter Morgan Elliott had earned her chemical engineering degree from Missouri State and worked as an engineer in ADM corn and soy food manufacturing plants.
In 2018 with the impending passage of the next Farm Bill, completely legalizing the production of industrial hemp in the US, Ken started prodding Morgan about joining him and his wife Julie in the hemp grain and hemp food manufacturing business.
IND HEMP was formed with a mission, to create opportunities for Montana farmers and rural communities with industrial hemp and to be the company to connect growers in Montana and across the west with the companies and industries using industrial hemp ingredients and materials.
With seed in the ground in 2019, the quest for the perfect location took them from Glasgow- in the north east of Montana, to Havre, in north central, until finally landing on the perfect location, with no time to spare, in Fort Benton, Montana. IND HEMP purchased a 17 acre site with existing buildings and got to work cleaning and remodeling ahead of receiving equipment to build out the nation’s first large scale hemp grain, hemp seed food processing facility- cold pressing hemp seed oil, milling protein powders and dehulling for shelled hemp seeds or hemp hearts.
Join us in this intimate conversation and take a look behind the scenes regarding the WHY of starting IND HEMP and how our mission continues to guide us to this day as we expand in hemp fiber decortication and processing.
Music provided courtesy of our friend Eric Hurloch- Tin Bird Shadow. tinbirdshadow.bandcamp.com