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Tag Archives: farming

scrollnegPresident-Elect Obama’s transition team has opened a second forum for questions submitted and voted on by Americans – http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

After the first round of questions was closed two weeks ago, the Change.Gov team posted responses to the most popular topics , including:

Question: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” 

Answer: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

This brief response to the most voted on question (according to NORML – see Previous Post) underscores the disconnect between government policy and the new silent majority recognizing Cannabis Hemp’s proper role in America – past, present and future. Thirteen states have now legalized medicinal Cannabis (an issue that has polled at least 75%  for decades); our farmers are suing to grow a crop their ancestors depended on; and thirteen states have now decriminalized small amounts of marijuana despite efforts by government officials to misrepresent and thwart reform.

vhsThis morning the good folks at Vote Hemp alerted me to the second round of questions now open at Change.Gov,  asking hempsters to search and vote for this question:

“Agricultural hemp is oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that are low in THC. Please see CRS report RL32725. What is your position on supporting farmers in the U.S. having the opportunity to once again farm hemp, an important agricultural crop?”

Vote for this question (search “CRS RL32725) at:

http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

* Current news and videos about industrial hemp – from the U.S. & Canada:

Headline: Nov 13, 2008 – US: Hemp Growers Take Case to Higher Authority – After paying $2,300 for a DEA permit in February 2007 and losing in federal court, two farmers in North Dakota are taking the federal government to the next legal level – in hopes of taking America to the next economic and environmental level. In a previous post, you can see ND’s Commissioner of Agriculture extolling the benefits of returning hemp to Dakota fields. Here is a local newscast, provided by Vote Hemp at You Tube:Wayne Hauge on KXMB Bismrck

canadaHeadline: Nov 13, 2008 – CN MB: Demand For Hemp Soaring, Firm Moves To Bigger Plant –  “In the last 10 years, the Canadian hemp industry has grown from an emerging niche market to a point where we are now being recognized as a global leader in hemp production”, said Mike Fata, chairman of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance ( CHTA ) and president and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp. The following, a video produced by Manitoba Harvest , is hosted on  Mike Fata’s You Tube Channel:Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils – Harvest Video

Headline: June 25, 2008 – CN MB: Growers Breeding New Hemp – In another story from Manitoba, the Parkland Prairie Hemp Growers Co-Op announced exciting results from eight years of work – cross breeding modern hemp varieties with 18th century genetics– the hemp of our grandfathers. PPHG has just received a grant from Canada’s Agri-Food Research & Development Initiative (ARDI) to further pursue the science and profit of hemp genetics.

neMeanwhile, back in the U.S.A., the only hemp fields to be found are feral remnants of the 18th & 19th century genetics so carefully selected by our ancestors. Recently, Cannabis TV visited one gene pool oasis in eastern Nebraska, where the famous “Kentucky Hemp” variety was introduced to support the cordage industry.  In this video, plant breeder David West, PhD examines the ripe hemp seed heads so important to pheasants and other wildlife, details history of hemp in the region and laments the loss of an important American legacy.Feral Hemp Patch, with Dr. Dave West

thomas“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

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Barak Obama was at a town hall meeting today in South Dakota today, talking about U.S. farm policy, hard economic times and buying American.  I hoped one of the questioners would be Alex Whiteplume, from the Pine Ridge Reservation – a land that’s hard to grow anything on and a people desperately needing viable industry close to home. 

Since 2000, Alex and his family have tried to grow Industrial Hemp on their land, first as a seed crop to build the stock of low-THC hemp seed, then as a fiber, oil and cellulose crop. Hemp is one of few crops that can do well in the harsh, arid land. Interestingly, the Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge had contracts with the U.S. government during World War 2, to produce the strong, versatile fibers badly needed for parachute webbing, ropes, etc.

I hoped Alex could ask Barak if he would support a return to hemp farming in America, like his rival for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R) TX, who introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. And I wished he could have time to tell his story – of betrayal by the U.S. government, which has come in repeatedly and destroyed the hemp crops, trampling on the sovereignty of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Here is a trailer of the film, “Standing Silent Nation“, which aired on the PBS, produced by Prairie Dust Films.Standing Silent Nation (Preview)

The hemp project at Pine Ridge was assisted by the Hemp Industries Association, the premier grassroots organization promoting industrial hemp to save the family farm and the Kentucky Hemp Grower’s Cooperative, who bought hemp bales from Canadian farmers and gifted it to the Native Americans at Pineridge. Soon, a house built of “Hempcrete” blocks, lightweight and resilient due to the long hemp fibers and hurds, and hemp insulation stood as proof that hemp could work at Pineridge. There were even prospects for sales of the Hempcrete blocks off of the Reservation. 

Cannabis TV has produced a  ten minute video giving the background to this story, including an interview with John Trudell, Native American musician, artist and activist. Long a supporter of Cannabis Hemp in its’ many manifestations, John Trudell clearly sees the benefits for the people of Pine Ridge and the motives of the government.Pine Ridge Hemp Project, with John Trudell

Well, you can’t keep a good people or a good plant down, even if they do stand silent. Alex Whitplume, his family and others have continued experimenting with industrial hemp at Pine Ridge, from making soaps and salves to homemade paper. And just yesterday, another You Tube producer posted a video series showing a building renovation with a  “Hempcrete” stucco, imported from England, where products like this have been in development for years.Hempcrete Construction – USA, SD

Here is a video featuring the patriotic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who co-sponsored the 2007 Industrial Hemp Farming Act, plus some of the products now made from hemp.Industrial Hemp Farming Act

As Hemp needs little fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide applications and needs far less water than corn, eco-friendly industries like Cellulosic Ethanol (see April.24th post) , biodiesel from hemp seed and products ranging from food to car parts become feasible, given the prolific production of this versatile plant. Rather than fighting the Sioux Nation  with my tax money, I would prefer that our government learn from Alex’s example and follow a path back to our past for sustainability in the future.

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” -President George Washington, 1794