Understanding history helps us see the future.
Most readers of this magazine would understand the value proposition of industrial hemp for New Zealand and the world. Hemp NZ Ltd has set the stage for the fibre industry in New Zealand. Anne and Dave Jordan, founders of the HempFarm brand and grower program, have taken industrial hemp to new highs in the quest to normalize the crop and all products made from it.
Dave began the journey in 2008 growing his first crop. Anne joined him in 2011 and together with Anne’s son Harley, they set out to build a vibrant hemp business based on a feed stock that would provide sustainable solutions for remediating many of the environmental issues that we face today.
New industry provides economic sovereignty for New Zealand.
In 2019, after 10 years of running and developing the HempFarm grower program themselves, Dave and Anne invited Carrfields Limited to join forces and administer their grower program. At the same time, Hemp NZ Ltd, the parent company of HempFarm, entered into a partnership with Christchurch based NZ Yarn Ltd. “We decided that the synergies between the two companies was so strong, that it made sense to join forces. Hemp fibre and hemp/wool blends will give a unique and innovative edge to the industry”, explains Dave. “New Zealand wool is world renowned and so to blend this beautiful yarn with sustainable, high quality hemp fibre makes perfect sense” says Anne.
After spending many years in R&D and travelling the world to find the best in hemp decortication systems, Dave and Anne sourced a state-of-the-art hemp fibre processing line which arrived in the country last year.
It’s the first and only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. At the end of 2020 it was installed at NZ Yarn Ltd, which has recently changed its name to New Zealand.
Natural Fibres Ltd, reflecting the new diversity hemp brings to its operations. This decortication system is designed to cleanly separate the bast fibre from the inner woody core – the hurd or shiv as it is called – from the stalk. Several thousand square bales of hemp straw will be processed within the next few months.
This fibre facility will roll out several added value products over time, aiming to reach plant capacity within a couple of years. Raw hemp fibre will be carefully blended with wool for products such as eco-matting, insulation, and wool yarn for carpets and more. Hurd for hempcrete buildings will also become available. “This is a massive breakthrough for New Zealand” says Dave, CEO of Hemp Farm and Hemp NZ. “This is just a start for the industry” he states. “We are proud to have partnered with the yarn industry and with the iconic Carrfields to administer the HempFarm grower program in the South Island and we look forward to a vibrant future ahead for the companies involved”.
Meanwhile Dave and Anne’s original team of three has grown to twelve personnel working out of the new HempFarm head office based in Tauriko, Tauranga co-located with its purpose built, certified organic food processing plant. A newly appointed Board is in place to guide Hemp NZ and HempFarm through its next exciting growth phase in food and fibre.
Sources: iHemp Magazine #15