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Manitoba to back Dauphin hemp processor

A processing facility to make residential-grade insulation and animal bedding from Manitoba-grown hemp fibre is moving toward spadework with $4 million in provincial investment.

The Manitoba government pledged $4 million in loans and grants Friday for Parkland Biofibre’s proposed $20 million processing plant at Dauphin in the province’s agricultural northwest.

The facility, when built, would be one of a “handful” of industrial hemp processing plants in the world, with capacity to process 23,500 tonnes of hemp straw per year from hemp crops grown in the area.

The facility will create up to 22 jobs in the Dauphin-Parkland region, making and marketing products from industrial hemp, the province said.

“This is a unique opportunity for the province to be at the
forefront of biofibre processing and trade,” Conservation
Minister Stan Struthers said at an event in Dauphin Friday.

Provincial support for Parkland Biofibre will be in the form of a $3 million Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP) loan toward the plant’s construction, plus a $1 million capital
grant from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural
Initiatives’ Rural Economic Development Initiatives (REDI)
program for related project expenses.

The province’s funds
are contingent on Parkland Biofibre securing more investment from
other public and private sources, the government noted in its release. Once all necessary funding agreements are in place, the design
and construction process is expected to take 24 months, the company said.

“Manitoba is a great place to do business with its strategic
location, competitive taxes and low cost of doing business,” said
local hemp grower Joe Federowich, board chair of Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers, the founders of Parkland Biofibre.

“In addition to providing high-wage,
high-skilled jobs, this plant will keep Manitoba competitive in
the growing hemp industry.”

Hemp fibre, grain and oilseeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, another strain of which is better known as marijuana. Industrial hemp growers produce a strain that’s too low in delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) for medical or illicit recreational use. Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, canvas, paper, clothes and other industrial products.

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