Hemp farming draws a crowd to hear the benefits

Logan Walker organised the hemp conference at Mallanganee Hall.

Susanna Freymark

Logan Walker has a lot to say about hemp.

Its fibres are as strong as steel, it puts carbon back in the ground and it doesn’t deplete the soil, he said.

Logan is in the right place to be extolling the virtues of growing hemp.

He is the organiser of the Hemp Region Regenerative Workshop that ran at Mallanganee Hall on August 29–30.

Logan lives on the Sunshine Coast and grew up on a farm in America. That’s where he learned about hemp.

“My mother talked about hemp and kenaf a lot,” he said.

The participants at the hemp conference had a field visit to Mara Seeds to see what Stuart Larsson and his team are doing with hemp and biochar.

Hemp and kenaf grow well in northern Australia, Logan said.

“A lot of people know what hemp is but don’t know the benefits.

“I feel hemp could help Australian farmers, the soil and the economy.”

A lot of farmers in the region want to be large scale farmers, Logan said.

It isn’t as simple growing hemp crops – there needs to be processing mills too, he said.

There were five agronomists presenting at the conference in Mallanganee. They were John Muir from Agrifutures, Dr Graham Lancaster from Southern Cross University, Kim Russell from NPK, Rob Eccles from University of Queensland Gatton and Andrew Woodford.

Logan Walker and agronomist John Muir at the hall hold a hemp plant.

Many of the conference participants were farmers – local and from Brisbane, Nimbin and the Sunshine Coast.

“I want to see the inspiration come back to farmers,” Logan said.

“If we take care of the people who take care of the soil, it’s a win-win.”

Agronomist John Muir has spent 13 years in the hemp industry. He works at Agrifutures.

“This plant is the plant,” he said.

“Hemp is an old plant.”

It hasn’t had decades of intensive breeding like wheat and corn.

“It’s adaptive. It loves compost.

“This plant responds better to an old system of farming. Hemp may be the mothership as a species. Hemp gives back, we can grow it organically.”

There was a display table at the hall with examples of how hemp is used – including the lightweight building bricks of hempcrete.

Find out more about the hemp industry at Australian Hemp Council and the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance.

The hemp conference at Mallanganee Hall.

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