Report to
Agriculture Task Force
Missouri House of Representatives
Summer 1991

prepared by
Richard Lawrence Miller



     The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that hemp is a practical crop for Missouri farmers. The presentation is prepared by Richard Lawrence Miller, a Missouri native whose book Truman: The Rise to Power carefully documented Harry S. Truman's years in state politics. Miller is also a nationally recognized authority on drug control law.

     Hemp was once an important Missouri textile fiber crop. Economic factors have caused hemp's popularity to rise and decline several times since the early 1800's. The last national production peak was in the 1940's. Demand for natural fibers and for alternative sources of food and wood products may make hemp profitable in Missouri once again. Large crops are profitably grown in France, a country with comparable labor and transportation costs.

     In order for Missouri farmers to produce commercial hemp, the state government surely needs to establish a registration system similar to the old federal one which assured that commercial production of hemp did not result in diversion of plants for use as marijuana. When that system was in effect, federal authorities in the executive and legislative branches expressed satisfaction with it. French authorities today use a similar system with success.


     Fiber.  Hemp produces some of the strongest natural fiber for cordage and textiles. Cloth can be rough or fine grade, ranging from canvas to linen. Fabric is "breathable," durable, and absorbs more moisture than cotton. Hemp is commonly blended with cotton to produce garments with best advantages of both fibers. Hemp fiber can be spun in flax mills. Hemp can also be "cottonized," allowing it to be processed in cotton mills, or spinning equipment can be adjusted specifically to accommodate hemp. Today's retail price of hemp/cotton blend clothing is comparable to denim. Hemp fiber is currently a specialty import item; commercial scale domestic production could bring down retail clothing prices. The price factor, combined with growing demand for "natural" clothing, could make production of hemp fiber economically viable for Missouri farmers.

     Paper.  Hemp produces fiber and wood that can be pulped for paper production. The wood (called "hurds") is left over from fiber production; the same crop can yield fiber and wood. For paper purposes, hemp hurd yields are about four times what can be harvested from the same acreage of forest. Hemp crops could thereby reduce global deforestation. As with textiles, paper can be produced in grades ranging from rough to fine. Hemp paper is strong--sheets can be tissue thickness without tearing easily. It also has a low acid content, meaning the sheets won't grow brittle with age and disintegrate as do high acid papers. Strength and low acid content make hemp especially appealing to book and journal publishers. In France hemp paper is widely used for rolling cigarettes. Markets for hemp paper exist today. If forest log prices increase, hemp markets could expand. An editorial in the June 1991 trade journal Pulp and Paper asked governmental authorities to expedite production of hemp paper.

     Meal.  Hemp seed can be processed for food. Traditional markets are birdseed, cattle feed, and huuman food. Hemp has not been widely used as human food in the United States, although specialty items such as granola bars are marketed, and hemp can be processed into breakfast cereal. Hemp is a more common human food in Asia and eastern Europe.

     Oil.  Hemp has as many food applications as any other vegetable oil.


     Wood.  Construction board pressed from hemp hurds is used in France. Such sheeting can be used for walls, floors, roofs. An American market likely exists.

     Plastics.  Assorted plastic products can be produced from hemp, ranging from cellophane to plumbing pipe. Whether such production can be done on a commercial scale, at prices competitive with petroleum plastics, has not been demonstrated. But a potential plastics market exists.

     Fuel.  The same can be said of hemp as a source of motor fuel. It can run diesel engines and can also yield high octane gasoline, but we do not know whether such production can be done commercially at a price competitive with petroleum. We do know that hemp wood and charcoal can be burned in power plant and boiler room applications, and that emissions lack sulfur and acids that pollute the atmosphere. The high yield of hemp wood per acre, compared to fforest wood, may make hemp wood an attractive fuel.

     Oil.  Paint and varnish manufacturers formerly used large quantities of hemp to obtain quick drying oils. Rising petroleum prices could help reestablish this traditional use of hemp.


     The last peak of U.S. production was in the 1940's, mainly to substitute for other fiber that could no longer be imported due to hazards of World War II. When those imports became available after the war, American production plummeted. On a world basis, however, hemp production has continued to thrive. Large crops are grown and marketed in Europe. With current interest in natural fiber clothing, hemp's advantages of strength and absorbency suggest it could establish a viable place in American textile markets. Human and animal food uses are another traditional market for exploration. Missouri farmers could gain an early advantage in such markets.


     Historical experience and agricultural research show that Missouri's climate and soils are ideal for hemp. It will grow almost anywhere, although fiber crops require different production agriculture techniques than seed crops require. Crops need little attention and are subject to few diseases or pests.


     In the past fifty years commercial production of hemp in the United States and Europe has been closely monitored by the government agencies because the plant that produces hemp also produces marijuana. Experience demonstrates that commercial scale production of hemp does not add to illicit marijuana supplies. Industrial hemp plants contain such small amounts of the marijuana drug that the fields are left alone by persons who seek marijuana. This was observed in the United States in the 1940's and is observed in France today.

     After concern about marijuana increased in the 1930's, government agencies in the United States and Europe established a registration system for hemp producers. Basically, a farmer of good character and who has a purchase contract for the crop can register as a commercial hemp producer. Registered persons are left alone by law enforcement authorities. Such a registration system does not legalize marijuana. Indeed, it expedites marijuana prosecutions because authorities never have to deal with a defense that an unregistered hemp crop is intended for legitimate purposes--if purposes are legitimate, the producer is registered.

     When federal drug laws were rewritten in the 1970's the hemp industry no longer existed in the United States, and the registration system was abandoned by the federal government. This abandonment means that individual states can now choose whether to encourage hemp production, using the old safeguards against marijuana production. If Missouri establishes a registration system, hemp farmers who register in this state will have a monopoly on American hemp production for the time being. Missouri farmers would thereby have the ground floor advantage in exploiting markets.


     Richard Lawrence Miller graduated from William Jewell College in 1971 (BA history) and was trained as a radio broadcaster at Northwest Missouri State University (BA 1973). The Missouri Broadcasters Association cited his public affairs work as outstanding. In 1975 the Missouri House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Miller's work in presenting the workings of the legislature to radio listeners.

     Miller did public affairs broadcasting at Northwest Missouri State, Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and University of Missouri--Kansas City. He has also worked at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, preserving and organizing its photograph collection. And Miller supervised the College of Pharmacy library at the University of Iowa.

     In 1982 he converted his long-standing part-time interest in historical research into full time endeavor. His first history book, published by McGraw-Hill in 1985, was Truman: The Rise to Power. The Washington Post called it "a classic contribution to our understanding of a great man and the lost time that molded him and gave him to the nation." The Post also said, "In lush and loving detail, Miller presents a magisterial study of the texture of local politics in early 20th century mid-America. Miller boasts--it is an unusual and refreshing boast for a political biographer today--that he is 'the son of a county patronage politician,' and that his family's livelihood 'depended on courthouse intrigue and electioneering.' What is often evaded, in the sterile world of the new media politics, as something declasse and vaguely shameful, Miller celebrates; and this background has served his well indeed."

     Miller's second book, published by Walker and Company in 1988, was Heritage of Fear: Illusion and Reality in the Cold War. Contrary to perceptions promoted by senior federal officials, in this book Miller argued that world communism was weak rather than strong, indeed that the so-called "communist empire" was on the verge of collapse. His thesis met harsh skepticism, but events soon demonstrated the correctness of his analysis.

     Miller's latest book is published by Praeger, one of the nation's most distinguished publishers of scholarly research. In The Case for Legalizing Drugs Miller argues that most problems associated with illicit drugs are caused by their illegality, not their chemistry, and that reforming such laws would not be a surrender to drugs, but a liberation from them. Federal judge Robert W. Sweet said, "This volume abounds in facts relating to drug use. Didactic and jarring in certain of its theses, but a necessary study for those concerned about drug use in America."

     Miller's work is cited as authoritative by other scholars such as William E. Pemberton (Harry S Truman: Fair Dealer and Cold Warrior), Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb), Hugh Thomas (Armed Truce: The Beginnings of the Cold War 1945-1946), Stephan Fox (Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-Century America), and William Wilbanks (The Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System).

     In addition to scholarly books, Miller's writings have appeared in publications such as Army, a professional military journal published by the Association of the U.S. Army. He has presented results of his research to professional meetings hosted by history departments at Northeast Missouri State University and University of Missouri--Kansas City, and at law conferences held at the University of Missouri law schools at Columbia and Kansas City. He is scheduled as a featured-speaker at an upcoming meeting of the Missouri Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors, and is tentatively scheduled to appear with Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and other drug policy experts at the International Conference on Drug Policy Reform to be held in Washington, DC, in November 1991. The Drug Policy Foundation of Washington, DC, plans to publish Miller's analysis of ethics in medical research involving adolescent marijuana smokers. His analysis of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratory system, an examination commissioned by FDA scientists, helped convince Senator Robert Dole to abandon his support for consolidating FDA laboratories around the country, and instead Senator Dole successfully worked to retain the current system.

     While studying drug control law, Miller noticed that Cannabis sativa L., the plant that yields marijuana, seemed unique among drug producing plants because it had many non-drug commercial uses. Those non-drug uses have long been protected by law; in the 1940's U.S. farmers raised many thousands of acres of cannabis while strict anti-marijuana laws remained in effect. Miller concluded that the hemp growing system used throughout the country in the 1940s could be reinstated in Missouri without boosting illicit marijuana supplies, providing Missouri farmers with an alternative crop and a virtual market monopoly on U.S. hemp production.

     The following report explains how Miller reached this conclusion.


     In 1944 USDA agronomist B.B. Robinson noted that "hemp yields on an average twice as much textile fiber per acre as fiber flax and three times as much fiber per acre as cotton. It is one of the heaviest fiber--yielding crops adapted to production in the United States."(1) Fred Brenckman, Washington DC representative of the National Grange declared that hemp had proven its place as an agricultural crop: "We believe that the time is opportune for agriculture and the spinning industry to combine their knowledge and experience in establishing a hemp industry in the United States."(2) A member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Guy M. Gillette of Iowa, concurred: "There are interests that do not want their markets usurped by the type of [hemp] industry that we have been trying to develop here, and this committee has already given consideration to the presentation of legislation looking to the preservation and continuance of these industries that give promise to furnish an outlet for our surplus farm acreage and employment to our people in the post-war period."(3) The National Farmers Union declared that farmers wanted "to determine the type of cooperative effort that could be organized to keep these mills in production and provide an outlet for a very satisfactory crop." The Union called for "the widest use of hemp within the American market."(4)

     Clearly, at one time mainstream leaders in agriculture and government viewed hemp as a legitimate crop. They were well aware of markets that demanded hemp.


     Baggage lining.(5)


     Carpet.  Fiber is used for rug warp, yarn, and thread.(7)

     Clothing.  Hemp is made into work clothes th can produce low grade clothing, or linen quality textiles can produce fine clothing. Hemp can be processed by flax spinning mills, (10) and it can be "cottonized" so cotton spinners can process the fiber without special adjustment for hemp. (11) In the 1920's the cottonizing process produced hemp fiber ready for spinning at half the price of preparing lower grade cotton itself for spinning. (12) "Hackling" allows hemp fiber to be spun on flax spinners. (13) In the 1940's, however, using cotton equipment for hemp had a commercial advantage over flax equipment because cotton equipment had a higher output. (14) In the 1940's research was proposed for further adaptions of hemp fibers to cotton spinners. (15). Thus additional capabilities may exist today. Blending hemp with other fibers, such as cotton or wool, expands the possibilities. Imported hemp/cotton blend shirts are currently price competitive with denim shirts. Domestic fiber might make hemp clothing more price-attractive yet. Around 1960 hemp clothing was common in South Korea, worn by about one-third of the population (16) (a market that surely could not afford high clothing prices). Construction materials. Fiber can made into home insulation. (17) Cordage. Fiber has long been us, leisure clothes, sport shirts, summer and tropical clothing, stiffening for collars, hat braid. (8) Durability, moisture absorbency, and "breathability" give hemp cloth advantages over some competing fibers. A U.S. Department of Agriculture specia Fiber is still effective for maintenance of insulators. (21) Fire hose. (22) Fuel. Waste fiber can be burned to power rope and twine factories with high efficiency. (23) Interior decorating fabric. (24) Linen. Products include tablecloths and bed sheets. (25) Linoleum. Fiber was once used for linoleum backing (26) but linoleum itself is becoming obsolete, replaced by vinyl flooring. Napery. Fiber can be made into napkins and doilies. (27) Netting. Fiber can be used for fishnets and other nets and webbing (as in parachutes). (28) Oakum. Oakum is made from "tow," short lengths of fiber. It was once used for caulking ships and for packing in assorted machinery, but is probably superseded by other materials today. Paper. The bulk of French fiber is used for paper rather than cloth. (29) Kimberly--Clark (the Kleenex company) currently uses French hemp to make paper for cigarettes and Bibles. (30) In 1976--95% of the French crop was used for cigarette paper, the remainder for Bibles,list states, "Hemp fiber is superior in that it absorbs about 250 percent of the power of absorption of cotton. In other words, a pound of hemp will absorb about 2 1/2 pounds of water, where a pound of cotton will absorb only 1." (9) "Homespun" rough clo domestic wood pulp, (33) the U.S. paper and publishing industries have been reluctant to use hemp on a large scale. Years ago a hemp industry spokesman described hemp imports as "just a ridiculous situation, because it [paper] can be made out of our local products in this country." (34) A domestic hemp supply could be far more competitive than imports are, particularly if federal forestry policies increase the price of logging in national forests. In the early 1980's Canadian Hemp Industries Corporation planned to devote at least 1,000 acres to fiber production for cigarette paper and fine grade paper. (35) At that time Canadian cigarette manufacturers depended on European sources for paper. When hemp fiber is grown for paper the quality can be ed for small lines and wrapping cords. It was once used for fishline (18) but is probably obsolete in that application. Drapery. 9) Electrical. Fiber was once used to insulate electrical wires, (20) but is probably superseded by other materials todadifficulty 25,000 or 30,000 or 40,000 acres of hemp...being used in the paper industry and in the plastic industry." (36) (For plastics, see below in "Fiber By-Products" section.) Book and journal publishing industries face a growing demand for low acid paper, and hemp combines low acid with good tensile strength. In the 1980's work was underway to incorporate hemp into lower grade papers as well. Hemp was once used for newspapers. (37) The paper industry should be an important market. (As noted in the "By-Products" section immediately below, in addition to hemp fiber, hemp hurds are another source of paper.) Plumbing. Fiber was once used to caulk water mains, spigots, soil pipes, sewer pipes, gas pipes. (38) It is probably superseeeeeeded by other materials today. Rope. Hemp is used for assorted all-fiber ropes, both as pure hemp and blended with other fibers. Hemp is also used as core for metal rope. (39) In wet environments hemp rope is superior to many other kinds, in strength and durability. Sacking. Products include burlap, sugar sacks, reinforced paper. (40) Tarpaulins. (41) Thread. Chief use for higher grades of U. S. crop in World War I was thread for shoes and harnesses, (42) and those applications continued afterwards. (43) Hemp thread is used in leather goods (44) and wherever heavy duty thread is required. In 1945 a specialist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that hemp fiber "can be spun into thread of approximately 30 lay, and it can be done economically, and it will serve every purpose that linen serves." (45) Toweling. High moisture absorbency makes hemp ideal for towels. (46) Twine. Hemp binder twine is used in harvesting grain. (47) Household twine is another product. Hemp is also used with wallpaper, mattresses, upholstery, sacking, brooms, shipping tags, ham strings, bell cord, gas meter cord, hat blocking cord. (48) Hemp's strength allows twine to be of lighter weight than when made from competing fibers. (49) Upholstery. (50) (19) Electrical. Fiber was once used to insulate electrical wires, (20) but is probably superseded by other materials today. electric condensers, and apparently tea bags. (31) American hemp has been used for those first three purposes, plus carbon paper and (according to one authority) U.S. paper currency. (32) Because hemp fiber imports are three times more expensive thans produce stalks having the diameter of a pencil, 2-inch diameter stalks are possible if a farmer wants to sacrifice fiber in order to get a maximum amount of hurds. (53) They have assorted uses. Construction materials. Hurds can be transformed into wood sheeting resembling Masonite. Hurd sheeting has good insulating properties, can be light as cork or denser than teak. It is suitable for interior or exterior applications, can be made rot resistant so painting is unnecessary. In the 1940's cost was competitive with other materials used for same purposes. (54) In the 1980's a hemp hurd building board product with "good sound-proofing properties" was available in Europe. (55) In 1944 Dr. O.E. Sweeney, head of the department of chemical engineering at Iowa State College said hurds could be made into I beams "two and half times as great as steel" in tensile strength, (56) Explosives. Hurds can be processed to make explosives such as dynamite or TNT. (57) Illinois fireworks regulations explicitly mention hemp products. (58) Farm operations. Hurds "make excellent bedding for livestock," (59) also litter for poultry. (60) Straw can serve as cattle feed. (61) While not a by-product per se, an additional use in France has been to plant hemp as windbreaks and as pollinization screens. (62) Hemp can exceed 15 feet in height. Fuel. Hemp hurds can be burned to power dryers in hemp breaking mills, and to power other needs at the mill with high efficiency. (63) "Breaking" is the first step of processing stalks into fiber. Breaking mills typically do "scutching" also, separating fiber from the stalk. Furfural. In the 1940's researchers estimated that technology of that era allowed about 45% of pentosan carbohydrates in hurd pulp to be extracted as furfural, (64) an oil that can be used to make dyes, lacquers, and resins. (About 25% of hurds is comprised of pentosans. 65). In 1944 Dr. O. E. Sweeney, head of the department of chemical engineering at Iowa State College, said that hemp furfural could produce a good motor fuel for automobiles, with proper engine adjustments, but the fuel would cost four times what gasoline then cost. (66) Subsequent technological developments suggest that methanol from hemp can be converted into high octane gasoline. Whether such production could be done on a commercial scale, and what the price comparison would be to gasoline in the 1990's are open questions. Glass. Hurds can be processed into glass. (67) Paper. Ohio hemp man R. S. Webb raised 600 acres in 1915, "probably the largest single crop in the United States" and sold hurds to paper mills, which produced " a very good grade" of paper from them. (68) The next year the U. S. Department of Agriculture reported lower than when fiber is grown for textiles; thus the paper market could be open to Missouri farmers as they learn skills needed to produce superior textile fiber. In 1937 a hemp industry representative told Congress, "I can readily visualize without muchth tree wood, but questioned whether producing hemp hurd crops would be cheaper than logging in 1916. (69) In 1944 a Canadian hemp man contended the ratio for paper manufacturing was 1 acre of hemp to 5 acres of spruce. (70) Studies around 1920 found hemp wood to have similar characteristics to tree wood for paper making. (71) Researcher in the 1940's found hemp hurds to be good raw material for heavy wrapping paper, cardboard, boxboard, drawing paper, stationery, and bond paper. (72) Conc Wrapping. Hemp cloth was once used to wrap cotton bales, still useful in gunny sack applications. Yarn. Hemp yarn has naval and carpet uses, also belts and webbing. (51) In 1945 a spinning mill spokesperson declared, "We use no fiber for our fine yads (as opposed to the entire plant) measure at 39% alpha-cellulose. (77) A 1957 report from McGill University and the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada says that nearly 80% of hemp fiber is alpha-cellulose, a range accepted by a standard chemicrns at the present time except American hemp.....It is an excellent fiber." (52) FIBER BY-PRODUCTS Hurds are a wood by-product of fiber production; a fiber crop will produce hurds in addition to fiber. Although standard fiber cultivation technique USDA scientists in the 1950's, hemp's rating was exceeded by only 2 species and equaled by only 6. The federal scientists concluded that hemp "shows considerable promise as a source of pulp. However, production of hemp in the United States is rigidly controlled." (79) A 1977 Italian study judged hemp hurds to be commercially practicable for the paper industry. (80) The prolific nature of hemp as a paper source, with an acre of hemp producing about four times as much pulp as an acre of forest, would help conserve forests. In addition, paper production from hemp should produce less water pollution than production from wood pulp because factories need lower amounts of chemicals to liberate lignin from hemp hurds. (81) In June 1991 an editorial entitled "It's Time to Reconsider Hemp" appeared in the trade journal Pulp and Paper. Technical editor Jim Young said the industry should make much broader use of hemp. He concluded, "U.S. hemp growing restrictions were set aside to meet material shortages during World War II. They should now at least be modified to meet pending shortages of fiber, energy, and environmental quality." (82) Plastics. The cellulose content of fiber and hurds make them raw materials for plastics. (83) In the 1930's one authority said the plastics market for hurds would cover production costs of a fiber crop, making fiber income pure profit. (84) (The bushiness of seed hemp makes its stems less suitable for cellulose applications. 85). In the 1930's Amhempco Corporation of Danville, Illinois, was established (in part) to use hurds for plastic. (86) Plastics manufacturers were buying hurds as raw material in the 1940's. (87) Hurds can be made into cellophane, photographic film base, and general plastics. (88) In 1944 Dr. O. E. Sweeney, head of the department of chemical engineering at Iowa State College, described hemp hurd plastic as "probably the cheapest plastic that has yet been worked out." (89) Textiles. By the 1940's "artificial silk" (rayon) was made from hurds in Italy. (90) SEED Animal feed. Seed is used for caged small animals such as rodents. (91) Bird feed. A long-standing market serves food needs of pigeons (squab) and house pets. (92) Farm operations. Seedcathat hurds produced good paper. Especially important today is the USDA finding that one acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper as four acres of forest. The USDA reported that the hemp paper manufacturing process was economically competitive wi. (94) Seed is more commonly used for human food in Asia and eastern Europe than in the West. (95) Oil, which has sweet taste, also used for food in Asia. (96) Under President Ronald Reagan federal law defined hemp as a food resource vital to national defense. (97) Fuel. Hemp oil is a traditional lamp fuel in rural Russia. (96) Oil. Oil content of seed can be 30%, perhaps even 40%. (99) Hemp was once used in soaps. (100) Hemp has produced fast drying oil for paints, varnishes, and erned about rates of cutting in forests, in the 1950's the U. S. Department of Agriculture made an extensive survey of non-tree sources for paper. (73) Described as "the most complete attempt to compare thoroughly a large number and diversity of plant maof hemp oil in the 1980's in paint, varnish, and soap manufacturing. (103) Hemp oil can also be used for cattle feed. (104) In the 1930's hemp seed was crushed for oil by Durkee, Eldorado Western Vegetable Oil, Berkeley Oil and Meal Producers, Cottonoil, Pacific Nutoil Vegetable Oil Products, California Flaxseed Products, Archer Daniels. (105) The market was substantial enough to require railroad tank car shipments. (106) Sport Fishing. Anglers use hemp seed products for bait, (107) SEED BY-PRODUCTS Biomass. As an experiment on January 4, 1978 the Eugene, Oregon, Water & Electric Board burned six tons of cannabis biomass, such as would result from bushy plants cultivated for hemp seed. The fuel served downtown steam custometerials in the same laboratory applying uniform procedures and analyses," (74) the scientists examined 200 species. Sample papers were made and subjected to standard industry tests. The scientists concluded that "alpha-cellulose content of a raw materi burned as fuel closer to points of its production. OTHER Beverage alcohol. Green stems and leaves produce Jamaican white rum. (109) ECONOMICS OF HEMP FIBER The most recent peak for hp production in the United States was during World War II. The war's end saw a return of competing foreign fiber imports (abaca, sisal, jute) and reduced application of federal hemp price guarantees--such subsidies were limited to mills already in business. New companies had to operate at world market prices without federal support. The challenge was from inherently cheaper competing fibers, not from imports per se; protective tariffs would likely have made no difference. (110) Hemp farming declined dramatically, although a half dozen private hemp companies were active in the late 1940's, and several hundred producers were still registered in the 1950's. (111) Hemp Fiber Production in the United States (112) Year Acreage Acreage Fiber Pounds per Planted Harvested (Pounds) Acre Yield 1931 320 272,000 850 1932 200 160,000 800 1933 140 105,000 750 1 500 425,000 850 1935 700 613,000 934 500 425,000 850 1935 700 613,000 875 1936 1,400 1,015,000 725 1937 1,300 1,040,000 800 1938 1,390 1,246,000 896 1939 1,440 1,282,000 890 1940 2,070 1,665,000 890 1941 7,400 7,410,000 1,001 1942 15,200 14,400 13,922,000 960 1943 178,000 146,200 140,680,000 962 1944 71,100 53,400 51,632,000 967 1945 7,300 6,900 6,762,000 980 1946 4,600 4,485,000 975 1947 4,900 4,655,000 950 1948 2,800 2,722,000 990 Until the United States entered World War II, private breaking mills in Wisconsin customarily paid farmers about half the proceeds realized from sale of hemp fiber by the mill. (113) As the 1930's began, breaking mills sold hemp fiber to spinning mills at a lower price than cotton fiber, but spinning costs made hemp yarn more expensive than cotton yarn. (114) In years just before World War II, industry-wide proceeds were $ 0.18 a pound for "line" fiber (a superior grade), (115) or $ 0.09 to the farmer. For crops of 1941-1943 growers served by Atlas Hemp Mills, Juneau, Wisconsin received an average gross of $ 120 an acre in those three years for all hemp fiber, including line and the inferior "tow" grade. (116) Matt Rens Hemp Co. growers netted on average $ 110 an acre in 1942. (117) After deductions for seed and rental of harvest equipment, at the J. LeRoy Farmer Hemp Mill in those years farmers producing an "average" crop netted $ 80 to $ 100 an acre. (118) Average national prices for other 1941-43 crops, per acre harvested (computed by comparing prices per pound or bushel to yield of pounds or bushels per acre): corn $ 30 per acre, wheat $ 20, oats $ 17, soybeans $31, Irish potatoes $ 147, tobacco $ 341. (119) (Those prices are gross income, not net profit.) The government mill price of line fiber during the war was $ 0.30. (120) The method of farmer compensation based on fiber price, however, was not used by the government during the war. As noted in the next paragraph the government paid by tonnage of stalk regardless of how much fiber the stalk yielded. Farmers preferred this method, and private mills had difficulty getting crops. (121) The effect was to make the hemp industry a virtual federal government monopoly. During World War II, in addition to six private breaking mills already in existence, the federal government absorbed the cost of erecting 42 more. The government guaranteed prices for stalks sold to mills, $ 30 to $ 50 a ton according to grade. Average price to all farmers through mid-1944 was $ 43 a ton. (122) In Illinois the average cost of stalk production in 1943 was $ 21 a ton. (123) During World War II, with stalk yields of up to 4 tons per acre hemp was more lucrative than corn for some farmers. One Iowan netted a profit (after deducting production costs) of $ 154 an acre in 1943. (124) In 1945 a private Wisconsin mill operator said his growers were netting $ 90 to $ 100 an acre. (125) In 1944 one Iowa hemp farmer declared that growers were learning the crop and improving their efficiency so much that they could get lower prices per ton and still realize increased profits. (126) A 30-year veteran of the hemp mill industry said in 1945, "All our farmers are realizing a good return from this crop, and they are anxious to grow it. We have to turn them down every year because we cannot handle all the acreage the farmers wish to produce." (127) Also in 1945, a U. S. Department of Agriculture specialist declared, "Normally the hemp income is a little bit more than corn. If the income from corn is $ 65 an acre the farmal would serve as the best single criterion for predicting both pulp yield and pulp quality of a given species." (75) Analysis found that 37.6% of hemp was comprised of alpha-cellulose, (76) one of the highest amounts found in any dicotyledon plant. HuIn 1943 they produced 370,000 tons of stalk. Fiber comes from the thin outer layer of stalk and in the 1940's comprised 20% or less of stalk weight, so tonnage of fiber would be less; 4,000 to 8,000 pounds of stalk might yield 600 to 1,000 pounds of fiber. (129) In 1944 a private Wisconsin mill characterized 1,000 pounds of fiber per acre as "an average good crop." (130) By the mid-1970's average fiber yie s of West European growers surpassed the average 1940's American yield of 890 pounds per acre. Italian fields produced 1,100 pounds of fiber per acre, France 1,600, West Germany 1,700. (131) Missouri hemp farms today might be far more productive than data from the 1940's indicates. In the late 1940's a USDA authority declared that hemp had higher fiber yields per acre than cotton, allowing hemp to be grown more cheaply than cotton. For the farmer, however, retting and milling expenses offset hemp's initial price advantage over cotton. ("Retting" prepares stalks for the breaking mill, and in traditional U. S. agricultural practice retting is done on the farm.) The USDA authority felt that if retting and milling technology saw improvement, hemp fiber production could become more profitable than cotton for American farmers. (132) Such technological advances have occurred in foreign countries. Another important advance is the breeding of varieties of hemp with higher fiber content. In 1975 varieties were known with fiber content in stalks surpassing 25%; one European variety was reported to have 31%. (133) Compared to the 1940's when fiber yields were 20% of stalks, modern varieties could reduce farmers' costs per pound by 25% to 50%. Greater productivity could make crops more profitable than in the 1940's when they enjoyed federal price supports. Assorted stalk breaking and scutching techniques can further increase profitability by increasing the ratio of "line" fiber (longer, more desirable strands) over "tow" fiber (shorter strands). In the 1940's government breaking mills produced 50% line to 50% tow. (134) At the same time the private Atlas Hemp Mills of Juneau, Wisconsin, produced 67% line to 33% tow, attributed to "better lands, more pains in handling, and improved processing machinery." (135) An establishedroth valued at $ 61.7 million. (137) The 1958 Korean fiber price computes to $ 0.33 a pound, tobacco $ 0.60, sugarbeets $ 0.006, peanuts $ 0.11, Irish potatoes $ 0.01. (138) Farmers in France, a country about the size of Missouri, had sufficient marketemHER Beverage alcohol. Green stems and leaves produce Jamaican white rum. (109) ECONOMICS OF HEMP FIBER The most recent peak for hemS OF HEMP FIBER The most recent peak for hemer ton of stalks. A breaking mill that prepared fiber for paper production sold the fiber for $ 590 to $ 1,540 per ton, depending on type. (142) As can be seen below, recent annual world harvests have totaled 244,000 tons from 1,000,000 acres withe Pro Folder:V$HQ 0?T$HA*w^ AE ?T$H for fiber hemp to raise about 20,000 acres in 1980. (139) One French cooperative sold 20% of its hemp to England. (140) In 1976 French farmers producing fiber for paper got about $ 78 per ton of stalks. (141) Around 1980 French farmers got $ 103 p a yield of 486 pounds of line and tow fiber per acre. Annual World Hemp Fiber Production 1979-86 (143) [insert chart here] SEED Around 1913 dealers paid Kentucky farmers $ 2.50 to $ 5.00 bushel, with yields ranginrices paid to seed growers in the 1940's are elusive, but in World War II the federal government sold seed to fiber farmers for $ 11.00 a bushel. (149) In 1976 farmers in France got about $ 11.00 per bushel, with typical yields of 2.4 to 3.2 bushels per acre. (150) The difference between American and French yields seems inexplicable at first. A possible explanation may be the French practice of harvesting seed from fiber crops ("lint seed") rather than from specially planted seed crops (although seed harvested for sowing comes from plants cultivated for that purpose). Quite possibly seeds form only at the top of a spindly French fiber stalk, rather than throughout the many stems and branches of bushy American hemp specially cultivated for seed. Hemp Seed Production in the United States (151) Year Acreage Acreage Seed Bushels per Acre Planted Harvested (Bushels) Yield 1938 40 500 12.3 1939 2100 a bushel, with yields ranging from 12 to 25 bushels per acre, typical yield 16 to 18. (144) Around 1937 dealers paid Kentucky farmers $ 2.00 to $ 3.00 a bushel, with typical yields of 12 to 14 bushels per acre. (145) d just over 12 bushels per acre 1,568 7.5 1940 510 8,409 16.5 1941 2,200 15,500 7.0 1942 36,300 29,300 242,273 8.3 1943 47,700 40,500 318,523 7.9 1944 1,500 1,200 12,000 10.0 1945 1,ght tap. Historically, imports have fluctuated widely. Bushels of Hemp Seed Imported into the United States (152) 1931 122,500 1932 81,500 1933 145,000 1934 295,000 1935 2,647,500 1936 1,427,000 1937 10,750 1938 11,500 1939 29,250 1940 26,500 1958 11,500 1959 3,000 1961 7,500 1962 6,500 1963 2,500 1964 5,000 1965 4,500 BY-PRODUCTS One person familiar with the hemp industry in the 1940's said the key to its future would be marketing hurds for enough money to pay for crop production. If the fiber sales were no longer needed to pay for production, hemp fiber prices could drop low enough--at no cost to farmers-- to compete with other fibers. (153) CULTIVATION FIBER PRODUCTION Fiber hemp grows best in well drained soil that doesn't crust and that holds moisture within two or three inches of the surface. (154) Illinois experts recommend silt loams and clay loams. (155) Iowa experts emphasize good drainage, (156) noting that soggy soil produces weak fiber. (157) A USDA agronomist declared Missouri's soil and climate "favorable" for commercial hemp. (158) In the 1940's , northwest and southeast Missouri were considered the best areas in the state for commercial hemp production. (159) An acre that produces 75-80 bushels of corn can proal technology reference book in 1980. (78) Such findings are important because paper pulp might not be made from the entire plant but instead just from parts high in cellulose. Of the 126 dicotyledons given an overall rating for paper making by theke is made from "residue of the seed after the oil has been extracted." It can be used for cattle feed and fertilizer. (93) Food. Seed can be made into granola bars and breakfast cereal. Seed contains plentiful amounts of fat, sugar, and albuminnough hemp crops remove quite a bit of nutrient, (167) hemp sheds leaves that return nutrients to the field, and upper leaves remaining on stalks drop to the ground as part of the field "retting" process described below. (168) In field retting the soil also recovers about 20% (by weight) of organic material from stalks, and farmers can plow stubble under. (169) Hemp's net extraction from soil fertility is thereby less than many other crops (170) and is considered comparable to corn. (171) Corn, incidentally, does well when planted after hemp. (172) During the 1970's in France winter wheat commonly followed hemp. (173) French growers find that hemp clears weeds and cereal parasites from wheat fields, and the deep hemp roots help with tilling. (174) Hemp crops are noted for improving physical condition of soil. (175) Indeed, hemp has been recommended as a crop for soil building purposes. (176) U. S. hemp production fell after World War II because planted acreage fell, not because soil fertility declined. (177) Fields can be plowed in fall or spring, though some authorities recommend fall. Hemp thrives in the type of seedbed prepared for alfalfa. (178) Seed can be broadcast or planted by seed drill no deeper than one inch; drilling improves yield. (179) Seed is about the size of wheat, 44 pounds to the bushel, and 33-55 pounds per acre are recommended for fiber crops. (180) Higher seeding rates don't increase the yield of stalks per acre, but can increase yield of fiber from stalks. (181) Experiments suggest that treatment with seed disinfectants have small or zero effect on yield. (182) In the Midwest the best time to plant hemp is after oats and before corn. (183) The first week of May may be ideal around Ames, Iowa. (184) Growing season is 120 days. Hemp grows quickly and reaches heights of 5 to 15 feet; for fiber production, height of 6 to 8 feet and stalk thickness of 0.25 inch is ideal. (185) Fiber hemp is planted in thick stands (20 or more plants per square foot) that smother weeds. Few diseases or pests trouble crops. Once seedlings appear, farmers rarely must do anything until harvest. Hard rain is unlikely to lodge hemp, but strong hail can damage crops (by destroying leaves and thereby harming plant growth). (186) Fiber hemp needs ample moisture, and drought harms crops; a climate with at least 30 inches of annual rainfall is recommended. (187) In the 1920's authorities reported irrigation to be feasible. (188) Traditionally in the Unitelacquers; in the United States the Armstrong Cork Products Company and Sherwin Williams company once used large quantities. (101) The Archer Daniels Company declared hemp oil to be superior to linseed oil. (102) A Canadian industry journal reports use ram was $ 4 to $ 7 per harvested acre, deducted from crop payment by the mill rather than paid up-front by the farmer. (190) Private mills had similar arrangements with their growers. (191) Harvest starts in late August and continues through September. American authorities recommend harvesting while pollen sheds and before seeds form. (192) Before 1967 French growers harvested after seed matured, but French practice now follows the American one. (193) If harvested stalks are stacked and stored in dry conditions they will keep for years. They do not have to be processed right away. (194) Normally, harvested fiber stalks must be "retted." In retting, stalks are commonly left on the ground for weeks or months so weather may start to decompose them, making it easier for breaking and scutching mills to remove fiber from stalks. Field retting is sometimes called dew retting. Heavy dew, "reasonably high" humidity , and intermittent rain are important for field retting. (195) Stalks can also be retted underwater in ponds or tanks. This method produces better fiber than field retting, but in the 1940's American technology did not make water retting economical in comparison with field retting. (196) Research at Iowa State College established that controlled water retting could be accomplished in 36 hours. (197) The head of the federal hemp program declared in 1944, "If a program of controlled retting can be developed, I am very confident that there is no limit as to the tonnage that can be grown successfully and profitably in this country." (198) One account from the 1970's noted a Swedish water retting operation with capacity for 150 tons of stalk at any given time, producing 33 tons of fiber per day. (199) Some work has been done in processing unretted hemp. (200) Retting is universally considered the hardest part of hemp farming, because shrewd judgment is needed to determine when the crop is properly retted. Fiber yields from improperly retted crops are inferior. In the 1980's Canadian Hemp Industries Corporation demonstrated a decorticator that stripped fiber from stalks upon harvest in the field without retting. (201) Such technology eliminates the riskiest part of raising hemp fiber crops, making them more economically viable than they were in the 1940's. After stalks are field retted, they are bound and shocked. These steps typically occur at the peak of soybean and corn silo filling, and require more labor than corn harvesting, but 1940's farm operations handled the labor demand. (202) Until around World War I hemp farming was labor intensive, but mechanical harvesters and mill machinery dramatically reduced labor requirements. In the 1920's mechanized Wisconsin hemp farmers were able to compete with cheap foreign labor. (203) In 1943 a typical Illinois hemp farm required 19.4 man hours per acre for the season. (204) Farmers send bales of retted stalks to breaking mills. As a general rule, the higher the yield of stalks per acre, the higher the quality of fiber from that yield. (205) SEED PRODUCTION Although Missouri had large hemp fiber crops in the 1800's, the last remnants of the state's hemp production in the 1940's supplied seed for fiber growers. (206) Climate and soil types recommended for fiber production are essentially the same for seed production, although ample soil calcium is emphasized for seed. (207) Seed hemp is commonly planted in hills 4 or 5 feet apart, thinned to 3-5 young plants. (208) Plants become bushy. With American varieties growing season for seed is at least 180 days. (209) Traditional harvest method is to cut the plants by hand 8-24 inches above the ground, and shock small bundles of them. After drying (a process taking a few days to 3 weeks) each shock is put on a tarpaulin and seeds are manually beaten off with sticks. "While this seems a rather crude way of collecting the seed, it is doubtless the most economical and practical method that may be devised. The seed falls so readily from the dry hemp stalks that it would be impossible to move them without a very great loss. Furthermore, it would be very difficult to handle plants 10 to 14 feet high, with rigid branches 3 to 6 feet in length, so as to feed them to any kind of thrashing machine." (210) Seed for new crops is sent to a cleaning mill. Seed for oil is shipped to a crusher. Although traditional U. S. cultivation practice requires farmers to choose between fiber or seed production, foreign seed growers have harvested seed stalks for low grade fiber. (211) Before the mid-1960's such practice was also traditional among fiber growers in France, where fiber is used for paper rather than textiles, and can therefore be of lower quality. Seed harvested this way is used for animal feed and for planting new crops. (212) American experience indicates that such seed is poor for new crops, however. (213)