The next best thing!

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Emily Plihal
For South Peace News

Smoky Hemp Decortication Ltd. and Smoky River Regional Economic Development have been working tirelessly in recent years to introduce a hemp decortication plant in the region to help increase growing opportunities for local producers and to boost the local economy.
This year, as part of their efforts, they found six local agricultural producers willing to grow 185 total acres of hemp to increase knowledge on what it requires to grow industrial hemp in the region.
“It’s a new initiative and with that there’s always a learning curve,” says Donnelly farmer Frank Cote, who grew 55 acres of industrial hemp during the 2021 growing season.
“There’s not a whole lot of information out there, so we went on what our agronomist and seed companies recommended. Hemp is a crop in development, but we feel it will provide a good alternative for producers.”
Agronomist Darcy Boisvert, who was hired to help people grow hemp in the area, says he was part of the team at SARDA who grew test plots over the span of a few years. They discovered the region’s growing conditions allow for higher yields of hemp than other places in the province.
Boisvert adds with an approximate $300 per acre input cost, growers would need to produce two tonnes per acre to break even. He anticipates a target of 4-6 tonnes per acre in optimal growing conditions.
“There’s definitely money to be made in a good year,” says Boisvert, who is hopeful that hemp can be an addition to crop rotations.
“We anticipate that we can make the same money off hemp as we do off wheat, or on good years even potentially as much as we do off canola.”
Boisvert explains currently 70 per cent of this year’s bales are being bought by one plant in the province. with the remaining 30 per cent expected to be sold to the second hemp decortication plant.
“Our objective at the beginning was to ensure our producers would have a...continued.

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