Michigan-based Heartland Industries received a $360,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support Hemp4Soil, a soil innovation program.
The three-year grant, from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, will support Heartland in partnerships with farming communities to advance research on soil health and carbon sequestration.
“This research will provide actionable insights that will impact the future of agriculture and regenerative agriculture,” Heartland said in a press release.
The Hemp4Soil project aims to quantify the impact of adding hemp and regenerative farming practices to crop rotations. Heartland said it has already identified farms in 10 states to participate in the program and has the option of expanding the search to other states.
Heartland and partner farms will incorporate hemp into a soil health management system that has the potential to reduce the need for herbicides, pesticides and insecticides, reduce water consumption, increase harvest soil carbon, increase nitrogen and replenish soil nutrients.
Impact of hemp
The project will test the impact of regenerative farming practices and growing hemp in fields used for traditional row crops. These practices can lead to increased yields of other crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat that are grown on the same acreage in subsequent years, Heartland said.
Heartland said its collection of comprehensive datasets on the impact of hemp cultivation on soil and carbon sequestration will establish the framework for trading agricultural carbon credits.
Detroit-based Heartland is an industrial hemp processor that works with farmers and manufacturers to ensure consistency of bio-based additives that can be used in raw material supply chains. The company said it was building a hemp supply chain to provide renewable additives to plastics manufacturers and resin suppliers.
Heartland announced in April that it had secured funding to build a hemp fiber processing plant that could eventually process 1.5 million pounds of hemp per year from Michigan farmers.
The company, which launched in July 2020, is led by CEO Jesse Henry, whose experience is primarily in raising capital. He was previously a management consultant under Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker. Henry co-founded Heartland with Tim Almond, a tech entrepreneur who serves as its president. The two are also identified as managing partners of Cloud Nine Capital, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based supply chain technology developer that started in 2016.