Delta Agriculture, NIHC urge Congress to consider hemp as a solution to global feed shortage
Submit letter for the record following Congressional hearing to address U.S. food supply chain challenges
DALLAS, Texas – Delta Agriculture, the nation’s largest industrial producer and processor of hemp raw goods, in partnership with the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), submitted comments for the record for the November 3 hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture entitled: “The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain.”
The letter was authored by Graham Owens, president of Delta Agriculture and co-chair of the NIHC’s Government Affairs Committee, and urged Members of the Committee to look to hemp grain and fiber as a viable solution to alleviate the hardships U.S. farmers are facing due to the ongoing global feed and grain shortage. Specifically, the letter asks for hemp to be authorized as a feed ingredient for animals not intended for human consumption and also requests funding to be designated to study the effects of hemp-based animal feed on animals intended for human consumption.
In the letter Owens writes, “The industrial hemp industry stands ready to work with Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that U.S.-grown hemp can safely and effectively help address the global feed shortage and provide much needed relief to U.S. meat producers. We all share the Committee’s goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to sufficient food to meet their nutritional needs, and that consumers can trust that all hemp-derived animal feed is safe and nutritious.”
The full letter can be read below. It details the severe threat to our nation’s food supply due to the grain and feed shortage and presents data that supports hemp as a viable solution to the global feed crisis while benefitting the U.S. economy and environment, specifically:
- Simply put, the drought and resulting animal feed shortage is costing farmers their livelihoods, with ranchers that have spent their entire lives or generations building their cattle herds to now suddenly be forced to sell or cull herds because they simply don’t have enough feed to maintain them.
- It is projected that there will be 201 million pounds of excess biomass in the supply chain prior to the 2021 planting season.6 Thus, while the nation’s farmers face a feed and grain shortage, there are literally millions of pounds of hemp plant material available right now to help feed cattle and other livestock.
- The FDA already evaluated and recognized hemp seed oil, hemp hearts, and hemp protein powder as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) for human consumption.7 Not only is it safe, but it is also one of the only complete plant proteins on the planet and is richer in nutrients than many compounds already consumed by our livestock
- Hemp feed is high in protein, contains high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and can be made into different forms of animal feed, including seed, oil, cake, meal, silage, and roughage. Several studies show that animals’ health improved when fed hemp-based diets.
- The hemp plant is uniquely situated to withstand the very droughts that created the grain and feed shortage now endangering our nation’s food supply chain. Hemp needs little water, and therefore requires far less irrigation than corn, wheat, or soybeans.10 The crop needs half as much water as cotton, and significantly less than almonds.
NIHC Statement for the Record – House Agriculture Committee Food Supply Hearing
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About Delta Agriculture
Delta Agriculture is the nation’s largest industrial supplier of hemp raw goods. Paving the path to a carbon-negative future, Delta Agriculture utilizes the power of the hemp plant to create sustainable alternatives for non-renewable goods like petroleum-based plastics. With farming programs and integrated processing facilities across Colorado, Kentucky, and Texas, Delta Agriculture manages the production of hemp from genetics all the way to distribution and has proprietary, patented technology to process all parts of the hemp plant – flower, grain, and fiber – at scale.