Hemp Is The New Oak — America’s First Hemp ‘Wood’ Factory

When most people hear the word “hemp,” they automatically think of marijuana. But a new business venture in Kentucky is aiming to make hemp known as a sustainable alternative to wood from oak and other hardwood trees.

A $5.8 million hemp wood plant was constructed in Murray, Kentucky, and will employ 25 full-time workers, according to Woodworking Network:

“Fibonacci, the company who makes HempWood, a reverse-engineered and patent-pending wood substitute, will lease a 11,230-square-foot facility for its first manufacturing operation. Production will begin this summer.”

Wood made from hemp has numerous benefits over the wood currently used around the world, Good News Network notes:

“In addition to being 20% tougher than oak, ‘hempwood’ grows 100 times faster. It looks and feels like traditional oak materials – but instead of waiting several decades for a tree to fully mature, hemp can be harvested and regrown in just six months.

“Additionally, there are about 78 species of oak tree that are now in danger of going extinct as a result of logging and deforestation.”

Owner Greg Wilson named his company Fibonacci, and says hemp is indeed the wave of the future:

“We look forward to being a productive member of Kentucky’s agricultural and manufacturing communities, and the enormous opportunities of hempwood as a renewable alternative to oak.”

While it might sound strange for a state as deeply conservative as Kentucky to embrace hemp, Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles is practically ecstatic that his state is becoming known for its embrace of hemp and hemp wood:

“When I became commissioner of agriculture, I said I wanted to make Kentucky the epicenter of the hemp industry in the United States. The fact that Greg Wilson and Fibonacci LLC are choosing Kentucky to locate the first HempWood operation in the United States is a testament to the work we’ve done to strategically position Kentucky’s hemp industry.”

Once production is underway, Fibonacci’s HempWood product will be available in blocks, pre-sawn boards, flooring, and finished products such as cutting boards at prices considerably lower than oak, the company says on its website.

In 2013, Forbes magazine touted the many benefits of  commercial hemp products:

“As we transition to a future that embraces more sustainable agriculture practices industrial hemp can help lead the way. With focused and sustained research and development, hemp could spur dramatic positive ecological and economic benefits. For instance, renewable, fast-growing hemp is a substitute for many unsustainable products like non-organic cotton (which currently uses more than 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides) and many plastic products.”

Now, six years later, we have hemp wood coming into the mainstream and providing a viable alternative to more ecologically destructive wood products. That’s a win-win for the environment and consumers.

 

Featured Image Via Hemp Today

 

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Andrew Bradford
 

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