Hemp Rising as Alternative for Oak Wood

A new hemp facility in Murray, Kentucky demonstrates the newly legal crop’s ability to outpace and replace oak trees as a lumber source.

Full story after the jump.

The Kentucky company HempWood officially opened its Murray-based manufacturing facility last Monday, promising local jobs and a wood substitute that is more eco-friendly than traditional lumber, according to a Woodworking Network report.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, HempWood leader Greg Wilson demonstrated the creation process for the hemp-based logs, which can be cut down into boards for construction, woodworking, and flooring purposes.

“We’re taking something that grows in six months and we’re able to replicate, or out perform, a tropical hardwood that grows in 200 years.” — Wilson, via WPSD Local 6

The facility is expected to use up $1 million worth of raw materials annually, which — according to the report — will all be sourced from local Kentucky hemp farmers.

In fact, the company has partnered with Murray State University to keep as many facets of its operation local to the area as possible. Dr. Bob Jackson, the university’s president, said the partnership will lead to “internships” and “future jobs,” as well as opportunities for “teaching and learning from an agricultural standpoint, business standpoint, chemistry standpoint, and I could go on and on.”

Hemp became federally legal at the close of 2018; since then, there has been a massive influx of states with industrial hemp programs, as well as companies looking to pioneer the space. Last week, the USDA announced that hemp farmers can now qualify for federal crop insurance.

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