The city of Decatur, IL has included planting acres of industrial hemp for soil remediation and erosion control as part of its water quality improvement plan.
A $9.8M grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service seeks to reduce sediment and nitrates in the Mississippi River Basin Critical Conservation Area, including Lake Decatur watershed. The Program aims to reduce up to 50% of the sediment and 20% of the nitrate nitrogen annually flowing into Lake Decatur, which costs the city tens of millions of dollars to dredge every few years.
Up to 2,000 acres of fiber industrial hemp will be planted within targeted sub watersheds and land parcels as a soil remediator. Saint Louis, MO-based hemp processing company, TigerFiber Hemp will contribute fiber variety hemp seed for the program.
“We want to plant this hemp in areas where it can be seen from the road by farmers driving past,” says James Forbes, CEO and founder of TigerFiber.
The five-year climate-smart hemp pilot project within the larger project is being funded in part with cash, technical expertise and in-kind donations from the National Hemp Association (NHA) and Hemp Innovations Foundation (HIF).
The Illinois Hemp Growers Association said the project would accelerate the hemp industry in Illinois and demonstrate the positive environmental and economic benefits of the crop.
“The grant funding for this project gives an opportunity for hemp to be highlighted as a proven ally to farmers and the environment,” says IHGA founder Rachel Berry.