What Delta Ag Does Differently
Because the hemp industry has grown immensely and branched out in unexpected ways in just the few years since hemp production was federally legalized, we’re often asked: What does Delta Ag do differently? It’s a worthwhile question, and the answers reflect the Delta Ag team’s experience—both in the hemp industry and also from industries outside of hemp.
It is one thing to grow a plant on a windowsill or even in a greenhouse; it is entirely another to manufacture it at scale. Delta Ag is the largest full-service producer and processor of hemp in the United States. And we’ve been able to achieve that status in record time because of past experiences in the agricultural, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries.
Those experiences left us with an understanding of supply chains, logistics, high-volume production, and the nuts-and-bolts that make complex systems work. Because of our experiences in those fields, we were able to quickly identify the gaps in the market—specifically the challenge that farmers have dealing with massive market fluctuations due to uncertain hemp supply chains.
The world—including the United States—has known for centuries that hemp is a versatile plant. In 1942, Henry Ford presented a groundbreaking invention: a hemp fuelled and cellulose-plastic prototype car with panels composed of 70% cellulose fibres that proved to have an impact strength ten times that of steel.
But, unfortunately, due to half a century of illegality in the United States, there’s a cloud that hovers over hemp domestically. That means markets that could use this product—autos, paper, plastics, and food, to name but a few—are still tentative about it. Corporations who mass produce animal feed or automobiles also want to talk to people who think and operate like they do—meaning manufacturing consumer goods at scale that meet certain standards and thresholds.
This industry is still maturing, and unfortunately, that means many hemp suppliers aren’t ready to pitch a Fortune 500 CEO about the virtues of hemp or talk about how hemp could be used in different parts of a supply chain. That kind of rigor and expertise takes years to develop, but we built it from our prior work and are bringing it to this industry.
To date, no hemp company has focused on utilizing all component parts of the hemp plant—the flower, the grain, and the fiber. We’re committed to all three, and we want to build our company with a focus on getting the most we can out of our crop. For one thing, that’s better business for us—the more of our product that gets used, the more we can grow.
But more importantly, we want to showcase the versatility and multi-dimensionality of the hemp plant, as well as its limited waste. With many crops, there’s little to do with discards like stems and leaves; with hemp, the entire plant can be used end-to-end. Hemp is a “full service” plant, with each part playing a potentially vital role in one industry or another. But it’s one thing to say that and another to do it, and that’s where we want to focus our energy and attention.
Changing the clean energy discussion
There’s no denying the movement around ESG investment and clean technology. Like many hemp producers, we see real value in the CO2 reduction potential of the hemp plant. But that story—like so much about hemp—is barely known outside of our industry. We’re here to push and promote that message, and to help people realize what we have come to understand: This plant isn’t just good for its potential uses across sectors and products. It also does extraordinary good for the planet.