Volume 2, Issue 15, October 2000 ISSN 1488-3988
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NAIHC Conference Report I:
Realism key to the success of hemp
By Martine Carlina
The 2000 NAIHC conference, which took place in Chicago on November 2-4th , was a success in many aspects. Although attendance was not great, the content made up for the shortcomings in numbers. The industry was well represented and the speaker line-up demonstrated a sophisticated and well- rounded knowledge of hemp and how they were integrating this special crop into their respective industries.
A large focus was placed on fibre applications of hemp. A number of speakers addressed this subject -- however Ian Low of Hemcore UK was the most impressive, speaking on the development of his company over the last seven years. Low named realistic expectations as one of the most important aspects of the success of this company. Now growing 5000 acres annually, Hemcore set horse bedding as its base business, which has enabled the company to pursue other applications of hemp. New markets such as composites and non-wovens have been identified and are now being marketed in addition to the core business of horse bedding. Interestingly, seed selection for fibre applications of hemp were named as the most important component of dealing with these markets as consistency of product is key to both of these industries.
Stan Blade of Alberta Agriculture gave an impressive presentation which focused on the agronomy of not only hemp but other crops in order that perspective be gained in terms of feed and forage applications.
Both Andy Kerr and James Woolsey of NAIHC pointed out the importance of hemp to the new carbohydrate economy. Both gentlemen spoke about the necessity of North America taking a leading role in the promotion of environmental solutions to the present crisis of greenhouse gas emissions.
Food and nutraceutical applications of the hempseed were discussed by a number of speakers ranging from academics to marketers:
Dr. Hyla Cass of UCLA spoke about the increase in chronic diseases -- such as cancer and arthritis -- as a result of the failure of the body's living systems. She pointed out how the role of essential fatty acids -- in which hemp is rich -- are now being named as important in the treatment of these ailments. Cass also highlighted psychiatric applications of EFA's, a relatively new concept and possibly an emerging market for hemp. She named the Pfiefer Institute as one institution doing research into schizophrenia and EFA's.
Heather Arnold of Atlas Corporation spoke eloquently about the cosmetic applications of hempseed oil and how her company has integrated it within their marketing program. The key to her company's success with marketing hempseed oil was positioning hemp as an ingredient and not an end all be all.
Dr. Roman Przybylski from the University of Manitoba educated conference goers on the nutritional value of the hemp oilseed. Most interesting was Dr. Przybylski's information on the impact of hempseed sterilisation as the key factor in the premature rancidity of hempseed grain and consequently other value-added products such as hempseed oil.
Shawn Crew of Hemp Oil Canada gave a humorous and entertaining speech which focused on the trials and tribulations of his company over the last two years in the growing and manufacture of hemp food and cosmetic products.
Ruth Shamai of Ruth's Hemp Foods presented a number of hemp products produced in Canada demonstrating the many value-added applications of hemp from food to candles.
Unlike other recent industry events, the NAIHC presented a broad range of speakers whose theme was realism not idealism. Although hemp is not legal to cultivate in the US, I found it refreshing that the NAIHC put together a conference that focused on the success of the industry worldwide rather than legalisation efforts. The proof is in the pudding as they say and this is exactly what the NAIHC outlined in the calibre of the speakers and industry professionals who spoke and attended this conference. I believe that this is exactly the strategy that will aid legalisation of hemp in the US.
Martine Carlina is Vice President and Marketing Director of BioHemp Technologies and has written several articles on marketing hemp in this publication and others. She can be reached at email@example.com
NAIHC Conference Report II:
NAIHC needs to rethink its agenda
by John McPartland
The annual conference of NAIHC was held on November 2-4, 2000. Over 100 NAIHC members attended, as well as several prominent non-members. The USA and Canada were well represented, with other attendees from England, France, Hungary, and Germany. The overall timbre of the conference was upbeat and positive. This tone contrasted with September's BioResource Hemp conference held in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The difference between the two conferences is simply an uphill learning curve -- segments of the European hemp industry have operated for a decade, so they are facing real challenges in crop agronomy, commodity processing, and market development. In comparison, most NAIHC members are from the USA and have never cultivated a hemp crop. The result is an atmosphere of unrealistic optimism -- legalise it and the hemp cornucopia will be ours.
A few Canadian speakers gave the conference a dose of reality therapy. Nevertheless, NAIHC is emphasising its mission to legalise hemp in the USA, at the cost of ignoring other aspects of its mission, such as fostering a real understanding of the crop.
Unrealistic optimism may be needed to convince USA lawmakers, but in the long run it damages NAIHC's credibility. I can example my own experience: for three years, I have asked the NAIHC Board to let me present a lecture at the conference, "Hemp diseases and pests -- a preview of potential problems and their solutions." This year I brought slides and handouts, and offered Board members copies of my book (Hemp Diseases and Pests, distributed by Oxford University Press).
The NAIHC Board did not seem to be interested in a better understanding of the crop. Bud Sholts, Chair of the Board, was bored by hemp agronomy. He is an economist. Jeff Gains was similarly indifferent to potential crop problems, although he won an award from the American Crop Protection Association. Gale Glenn looked at my collection of pest data and asked, "Are you against hemp? What are you doing here?" Another Director cut me short, "We don't need to tell Americans about this! We need to sell hemp! You don't sell a washing machine by pointing out all its problems, do you?" Only three of the 12 Board members acquired a copy of Hemp Diseases and Pests. The rest said no thank you, not interested in learning about hemp. I was flabbergasted by their lack of interest.
What is the NAIHC Board interested in? Control. At last year's membership meeting, the Chair declared, "No one is resigning from the Board, so there is no need to call for nominations." That ended the annual election! Despite bylaws that require allowing nominations from the floor! Control, to me, was summarised at the end of Jeff Gain's closing speech, "When hemp cultivation begins in the USA, we cannot allow market forces to prevail. We must limit the number of hemp growers, to protect the market from oversupply." NAIHC wants to decide who the growers will be, and NAIHC wants to control the seed supply for those growers.
NAIHC members not sharing this vision of control have been purged from the organisation, such as David Morris, a talented writer and researcher from the Institute of Local Self- Reliance. Gone but not forgotten! David Morris was quoted by this year's keynote speaker, James Woolsey. Some of the greatest pioneer hemp advocates in America have been stripped of their NAIHC membership or asked to step down from the Board, such as Don Wirtshafter, Joe Hickey, and Andy Graves. This purge was short-sighted and self-defeating.
Institutional autocracy is a NAIHC trait, and it does not bode well for the organisation. NAIHC is walking thin ice, exampled by the aforementioned election shenanigans and purging Board members without calling a vote from the Membership, and engaging in trade development when this activity is illegal for 501(c)(3) non-profit organisations. Why did the Board hire James Woolsey as their lobbyist, when lobbying is illegal for a 501(c)(3) non-profit?
Bud Sholts said I could speak if any scheduled speakers did not show up -- fat chance. Amazingly, on the last day there were two openings in the schedule. Bud nevertheless ignored my requests, and the conference simply ended early. Why? I think the Board wants to fight fire with fire. They want to fight General Barry McCaffrey's lies and propaganda with their own propaganda and lies: Hemp is Pest-Free. Hemp is a Miracle Crop.
We cannot fight fire with fire. We must fight propaganda with truth. The truth will set hemp free, and freedom is the opposite of control. NAIHC needs to re-think its agenda.
John McPartland, the author of the truly excellent Hemp Diseases and Pests, can be reached at John.McPartland@vtmednet.org.
For more information about the North American Industrial Hemp Council, check out www.naihc.org
Report: Functional Foods Update in Saskatoon
Crop diversification in Canada, not only means new field crops like hemp and chickpeas, but also herbs, spices and medicinal crops. These have attracted a lot of attention lately. Indeed a recent Alberta Agriculture report, The Market for Herbs and Essential Oils, said that " Canada could be the "Sleeping Giant" of the medicinal plant industry."
"Our advantages are numerous. For example, the environment is relatively pristine and the resources for crop production are vast. Producers are well educated, land is relatively cheap, and the infrastructure offers world class plant breeders. There is close proximity to a large wealthy population with a new found interest in herbal products just south of the border. " (see http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/economic/market/herbsarticle.html )
How big? According to Nutrition Business Journal, the US sale if nutrition products consisting of natural health products (including dietary supplements and herbs), natural and organic foods, functional foods and natural personal care products was a $44.5 billion market in 1999. Approximately 50 companies in Saskatchewan have been identified as being part of the nutraceutical or functional foods industry, with 1998 sales estimated as between $40-50 million.
While there is a lot of buzz in the food world about functional foods there is a degree of consumer confusion about what the word means. Defined as food similar in appearance to a conventional food and consumed as part of a usual diet, functional foods enhances or promote health beyond what its supposed to do nutritionally.
Functional foods could be said to be a technocrat's definition of a health food. That being said, development of the functional food industry empowers consumers as it gives them inexpensive tools -- namely good food -- to achieve better health. Bundled up with this intent is the whole sticky issue of labelling and health claims.
The Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network's Functional Foods Update, held on October 29-30, 2000 in Saskatoon was an intriguing conference that covered issues relating to food science, agriculture, nutrition, marketing and regulations. Attendees were a broad mix drawn from all levels of the food (and yes drug) industry -- on the one hand, there were representatives from big players like Dupont, Dow and Monsanto in attendance; on the other, was the strong representation of herb, hemp, new crop and spice growers -- many organic -- at the meeting. Mixed in the middle were the gamut of government agencies who are looking to develop the province's vital agriculture sector for the next century, and trying to figure out who they will be doing business with.
The keynote address was delivered by Peter Barton Hutt of Covington & Burling of Washington DC. Speaking on "The Evolution of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act and the Nutrition Labelling & Education Act in the US", Hutt explained how food producers are able to make "structure/function" claims in the US. S/F claims describe the function or role the nutrient or ingredient play in the human body, without making a drug or drug claim. In other words, EFA-rich hemp oil, for example, could be said to "help support the immune system" but could not be said to "cure cancer" without FDA approval.
Hutt also spoke on health claims allowable under NLEA -- the Nutrition and Education Act of 1990. Basically foods are not allowed to say they "cure", mitigate or prevent any disease, but can say "may reduce the risk." An acceptable claim would something along the lines of "soy protein may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
Canada is on a different time schedule and in a different regulatory reality. Currently, the country's food producers are operating under the almost half-a-century old Food and Drug Act, which defines substances as either a food or a drug. These distinct categories are rather dysfunctional in today's marketplace, and put a huge onus of government to get its act together. This has taken some time.
Phil Waddington, from Health Canada's new Directorate of Natural Health Products, was present to explain one more time the role of his office and their efforts to develop appropriate regulations that allow for "freedom of informed choice".
Waddington has an uphill journey. To date, industry though has proceeded without heavy government regulation and will resent imposition -- perceived or real -- from Ottawa.
"We are not imposing regulations, but creating it, " counters Waddington, "The industry is not unregulated, it already is regulated and the regulations don't work."
One of the mechanisms ONHP is looking at is a licensing system -- similar to what is already is place with the special case of industrial hemp.
As well, the ONHP is not looking to harmonise with the international standards set by Europe or the US, so products that may be available in one country may not be allowable in Canada. "Standards of imports have to match standards required in Canada," says Waddington.
Waddington and his office will have to display great skill to satisfy consumers, business and regulatory interests, including competing agencies in Health Canada and other ministries. As the new kid on the block trying to appease many different interests, the ONHP process may take years. It has already taken three.
Other speakers at the conference included Tom Clough, Managing Director, Health Business Partners (US), Dr. Victor Fulgoni of Nutrition Impact (USA) Dr. Michael Heasman, Executive Director, Centre for Food & Health Studies, (UK), Ms. Anne Kennedy, President, National Institute of Nutrition, (Canada), and Dr. David Kitts, Department of Food Science, University of British Columbia (Canada).
A Nutraceutical Industry panel of Saskatchewan based companies showed off the innovation that the province is poised to make good with. Participants included Ben-Don Innovations Inc who make specialised harvesting machinery, BioHemp Technologies, hempseed processors and marketers, Gen-X Research, hempseed producers, Maple Ridge Farms, essential oil producers, Coulee Pickings, herb wildcrafters, and Northern Lights Herbs Inc, a cooperative of several herb producers.
A seminar on competitive intelligence on the afternoon on October 29th gave attendees some specialised knowledge strategies on how to gather and evaluate information on potential and real competitors.
One final note, despite the eclectic mix of companies present in the convention, there were few sparks. The clash of worldviews between organic and biotech-based companies did not hit the level of vitriol that sells newspapers. The debate was on the table, but it was discussed only in code. It seemed every conference speaker spoke of how consumer demand, and not technology push, is the force that will move the industry forward. Heartening words that may help to check the institutional arrogance of some of the larger food companies and regulatory agencies who have such influence on our food and health policies.
For more information about the Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network and Functional Foods check out http://www.nutranet.org
Canadian Hemp: Bibliography and Resource Guide
Published by AgTIS, The Agriculture Technical Research Service
Every business -- whether a start up or a more mature one -- needs to do research. You can either pay a great deal of money to out contract this work, or you can invest your time instead. No matter where on the time/money continuum you may be, Canadian Hemp: Bibliography and Resource Guide (ISB 0-968285-1-1-2) is a good thrift tool for watchers of both clock and lucre.
Noting the volumes of information that have been produced on hemp over the past half decade, CHBRG is a preliminary attempt to coordinate literature and information on this new crop for Canadian industry. The report is divided into three sections: a Hemp Research Bibliography, Hemp Research News (selected media and news stories from the 1990s) and Hemp Resources, a listing of government, association and www resources and contacts.
While the report is extensive, it is not exhaustive. Some of the literature cited is now unfortunately out of print and is unlikely to be published again. And the researchers seemed to have stayed away from more controversial media, such as the libertarian Cannabis Culture, which is a pity, as they have published good stuff in the past (including freelance work by Hemp Report editorial members).
And it may be helpful if there was more than one indexing system -- by topic, for example -- but with a 34 pp document, this absence does not make it unworkable.
Printed on a heavier stock drawn from Domtar's Weeds paper line, CHBRG has a clean lay out. Overall a good product and is a good start for anyone wanting to avoid duplication of other people's research efforts and to learn more about industrial hemp.
Canadian Hemp: Bibliography and Resource Guide is available for a very affordable $30 CDN. Contact Ant Lemay at AgTIS, 135 Taylor Road, RR#4, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, L0S 1J0. Tel: 906-641-2252 ext. 4153 or Fax: 905-641-9303. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AgTIS provides custom and proprietary research and technical intelligence and research for all organizations involved in research, development, commercialization and technology transfer in the agriculture and agrifood sector. They have a number of research publications available that may be very useful to readers of The Hemp Report, including ones on oil extraction technologies, bioplastics, greenhousing, herb production, and hydroponics.
ABSTRACT: GC-MS analysis of the total delta9-THC content of both drug- and fiber-type cannabis seeds [In Process Citation]
AUTHORS: Ross SA; Mehmedic Z; Murphy TP; Elsohly MA
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: National center for Natural Products Research, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA
ABSTRACT: A GC-MS method was performed to determine the total delta9-THC content in both drug- and fiber-type cannabis seeds. Drug-type seeds were found to contain much higher levels of delta9-THC (35.6-124 microg/g) than fiber (hemp) seeds (0-12 microg/g). The majority of delta9-THC was found to be located on the surface of the seeds. Approximately 90% of the total delta9-THC was removed by a simple, quick wash with chloroform. Washed drug-type seeds contained less than 10 microg/g. Separation of the seeds into the kernel and testa showed that the bulk of delta9-THC is located in the testa, mainly on the outside. The kernels of drug- and fiber-type cannabis seeds contained less than 2 and 0.5 microg delta9-THC/g seeds, respectively. Fluctuations in the delta9-THC content of different replicates of the same type of seeds could be the result of the degree of contamination on the outside of the seeds.
SOURCE: J Anal Toxicol 2000 Nov-Dec;24(8):715-7
For more information about the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, check out http://www.jatox.com.
Thanks to Franjo Grotenhermen (email@example.com) of the nova-Institute for making this abstract available to The Hemp Report.
Working in Hemp Foods? Two sites to visit:
Thomas Food Industry Register www.tfir.com
An online buying guide to US & Canadian suppliers of food products, ingredients, equipment & supplies.
Should you be listed in Thomas Food Industry Register? Does your organization do business in the U.S. and/or Canada? If your company/organization falls into any of the categories -- Food Processor, Equipment/Supply Manufacturer, Wholesaler/Distributor, Trade Association -- you are eligible for a FREE listing within Thomas Food Industry Register.
Another potentially valuable web site: www.organicandnaturalnews.com/guide
Recommended - Sources of Web News:
Looking for more news? GlobalHemp.com has a great news service, which mails out 2-3 times a month as headlines permit. Probably the most comprehensive roundup of mainstream news coverage of hemp. To subscribe to the Global Hemp News digest send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: Subscribe.
Also, out of New Zealand: check out NZHIAI'S Monthly email Newsletter. As New Zealand works towards a regime allowing for trial corps and eventually regulation, it will be interesting to what they come up with. Email: email@example.com for more.
Minnesota's Institute of Local Self Reliance also publishes the Carbohydrate Economy Electronic Bulletin, monthly bulletins that report on what's happening in and around the plant matter-based product industry. Highly recommended. To subscribe email: firstname.lastname@example.org , subject line: Subscribe to CE Bulletin.
The ISLR has recently introduced their New Rules Project. Building on the premise that "community matters," the New Rules Project identifies public policies that build economically vital and politically vibrant local communities. The project publishes a quarterly journal, The New Rules; books addressing local retail issues; and electronic bulletins with late-breaking news on specific issues. Check out www.newrules.org for more info.
January 26-28:20th Annual Organic Conference, Guelph, Ontario
20 Years & Growing. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ann Clark, Professor of Plant Agriculture, will define the next 20 years' growth for Canada's hot organic market.
"Organic agriculture has come of age in Ontario. Long standing barriers are being shattered on all fronts, not by executive decree, but by the hard work and integrity of a remarkable group of people," says Clark.
An audience of 1500 farmers, processors, retailers, gardeners and consumers is expected A two day exhibition featuring 95 exhibitors will be held on January 27th and 28th, including Cloud Mountain, The Cool Hemp Company, Ruth's Hemp Foods/R&D Hemp, Hempola Valley Farms and Ontario Hemp Alliance.
Contact Tomás Nimmo email@example.com or check out www.gks.com/OrgConf
January 29th:PAPTAC 87th Annual General Meeting, Montreal, Quebec.
AGM of the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada. This year's event will feature the first meeting of PAPTAC's nonwood pulping committee (see Top of the Crop, this issue)
Visit www.paptac.ca www.paptac.ca
February 15-18: BIO FACH 2001, Nuernberg, Germany
The World Organic Fair - BIO FACH 2001 - only two months away. Over 20,000 visitors and 1,500 exhibitors expected to participate in BIO FACH 2001.
For more information, visit the BIO FACH web site at www.biofach.de
March 5-7th; Business of Functional Foods/Growing Global, Edmonton, Alberta.
The Business of Functional Foods is an opportunity to hear about opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs interested in the area of functional foods.
Produced by Alberta Agriculture, the Functional Foods Alberta Centre of Excellence and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Contact: Kevin Swallow 780-980-4870, Connie Phillips 780-980-4865
The "Growing Global" conference, immediately following the Business of Functional Foods seminar, is an opportunity to hear about what is going on at all levels in the areas of: organic production as well as to hear about the opportunities for medicinal and other unique crops.
Produced by The Alberta Special Crops Product Team, Alberta New Crops Network and Go Organic!. To receive an agenda/registration form, contact the Crop Diversification Centre North at 780-422-1789.
March 29-April 1:CHFA Conference & Trade Show
Held at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. Over 1500 attendees last year. For more information, check out www.chfa.ca
March 9-11: Natural Product Expo West 2001
More info coming soon! http://expowest.com
May 12-13:Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo, Santa Cruz, California.
The Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo provides a positive basis for public support of hemp reintroduction. Vendors and hemp reintroduction advocates are drawn from around the world to Santa Cruz. Over 75 booths will be featured, plus educational and historical displays, live music from 2 stages, a hemp fashion show, speakers and panels.
The 2 day Expo, which includes about two thirds of Church Street alongside the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, will expand to include the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers for the 2001 event. The panel and speaker series will be held in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers for the first time.
For more information call the Expo's publicity voicemail at: 831-425-3003 or visit on the web at www.cruzexpo.com . Sponsor and vendor inquiries may call: 831-466-0500.
Sept 18-22:Bast Fibrous Plants on the Turn of the Second and Third Millenium, Shenyang City, China.
Call for papers in progress: Experts working in scope of bast fibrous plants (especially hemp in the field of bast fibres) agrotechnology, extraction and processing, textile and non-textile applications, marketing and trade are cordially invited to attend the event and submit proposals for oral or poster presentations.
Conference Language: The language of the conference is English. The simultaneous translations English/Chinese will be provided.
Organized by: Institute of Natural Fibres (INF)/ Coordination Centre of the FAO European Cooperative Research Network on Flax and Other Bast Plants. Ph: +48 61/ 84 80 061, Fax: +48 61/ 84 17 830, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tong Xin Intelligent Engineering Co.Shenyang, China fax: +86/24-82900311, email: email@example.com
TBA?: VoteHemp.com's Hemp Summit, Washington DC.
Catch a great list of North American Trade Shows at: www.hemppages.com
HAVING AN INDUSTRIAL HEMP EVENT?
Contact Arthur Hanks, Hemp Report Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org with details
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