Michigan hemp firm wins USDA grant to advance soil health and carbon research

A Michigan hemp biotech company has secured a federal grant to partner with farms across the country in developing a soil innovation program.

Heartland Industries, a company that engineers hemp fibers as additives for plastic based in Detroit, received a $360,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for its Hemp4Soil program, the company announced Tuesday.

The grant is part of the NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grants program, a $15 million competitive effort to develop new ways to advance conservation on private lands. From 77 applicants, the NRCS funded 19 new projects; Heartland Industries’ program was the only hemp project selected.

“Innovation is key to addressing the climate crisis and conserving the natural resources we all depend on,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby in a statement.

“CIG partners are using the latest science and research to come up with solutions that work for farmers, ranchers and foresters and help ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”

Heartland Industries will use the money to work with farmers to research soil health and carbon sequestration to quantify the impact of adding hemp and regenerative farming practices into farmers’ crop rotations.

Heartland Industries has identified farms across 10 states and may expand the research program into additional states.

Over the next three years, the partner farms will test the impact of hemp and regenerative farming practices on soil used to grow traditional row crops including corn, soybeans and wheat.

Data will be collected on hemp’s impact on soil and carbon sequestration to help lay the framework for developing carbon markets, according to Heartland Industries.