PIERRE, SD – Commercial hemp has been planted this year in the state. South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association Executive Director Katie Sieverding says they’re off to a great start with most of the hemp being planted of grain and fiber varieties.
“Right around 20 farmers who have planted a crop,” says Sieverding. “The majority of acres are planted in grain and fiber varieties. Other is planted for the cannabidiol (CBD) variety.”
She says the three processors that have been licensed so far are in the eastern part of the state..
“There are three processor licenses that have been issued by the state,” says Sieverding. “Those are located in the Willow Lake, Madison and Sioux Falls area. All are doing a little bit different types of processing. Our goal is to get another processing plant in the state for fiber production.”
Sieverding expects the industrial hemp industry to grow and that there is already evidence of use for industrial in Rapid City.
“In Rapid City, Hempcrete blocks are being used to revamp an entire building. That’s really exciting to see. I do think it will continue to grow,” she notes.
Hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. The hemp core or “Shiv” has a high silica content which allows it to bind well with lime. This property is unique to hemp among all natural fibers. The result is a lightweight cementitious insulating material weighing about a seventh or an eighth of the weight of concrete.
Hempcrete was discovered in a bridge abutment in France built in the 6th century. In present day, Hempcrete buildings 10 stories high have been built in Europe.
Sieverding says they’re planning an industrial hemp field day in August in the Willow Lake area.