News Release Article from  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Governments Invest in Innovative Hemp-Based Processing

January 11, 2016 – Gilbert Plains, Manitoba – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Canada and Manitoba governments are investing more than $125,000 in new equipment to help a local hemp processor transform hemp straw into absorbent pellets for kitty litter, Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.

Hemp Sense Inc. in Gilbert Plains will manufacture a natural, dust-free, environmentally-friendly kitty litter, tapping into a market worth $2.6 billion in North America. Hemp straw can absorb up to five times its weight in water, making it perfect for litter. It may also have potential to help clean up oil and chemical spills.

Minister Kostyshyn noted this investment supports Manitoba's Bioproduct Strategy and its goal of generating $2 billion in annual revenue by 2020.

Between 20 and 25 per cent of the hemp grown in western Canada is in Manitoba. Unused hemp straw does not biodegrade quickly, so this new, absorbent product will create a market for excess hemp that might otherwise go to waste.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.

Quotes

"The Government of Canada is pleased to support new innovation that transforms agricultural crops into new non-food consumer products. This type of innovation will not only help farmers find new markets for their crops, it will contribute to environmental sustainability, while strengthening our rural Canadian economy."

- Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay

"Hemp Sense's innovative product converts straw that would likely otherwise be burned into a high-end green product. The Manitoba government is proud to support our province's thriving hemp-based agribusiness. This product will reduce the industry's carbon footprint while also growing the rural, green economy."

- Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn

"The equipment added by this program will mean additional processing flexibility and capacity for Hemp Sense to manufacture and market diverse new products. We are creating the first hemp products for the absorbent market in North America and we have additional product plans in the near future which could bring added income to hemp farmers looking for new uses for their crop."

- President, Hemp Sense Inc. Lyall Bates

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Contacts

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

Caedmon Malowany
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Ron Kostyshyn
204-945-1494


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