GREAT FALLS — Montana Farmers Union hosted a meeting in Great Falls on Tuesday for producers and processors of hemp products to come together.
Along with several presentations the event allowed different businesses to discuss the constantly expanding industry of hemp.
Cary Kolstad, a fifth-generation farmer, started with Montana’s pilot program in 2016 to start growing industrial hemp. But he hopes the industry continues to grow in Montana.
“What I’d like to see is something happening with the fiber. I’d like to see Montana bring in some processing plants and start utilizing that because that’s where the most..most of the uses from hemp actually come from the stalk and no one’s really using it at the moment,” said Kolstad
Morgan Elliott, IND Hemp VP of Operations shared with me some of what they will be doing at IND which is in Fort Benton. Elliot tells MTN, “We produce wholesale products, wholesale oil and wholesale protein. So, our finished product is going into salad dressings or topical treatments as well as protein bars or protein shakes."
According to Elliot, hemp products have typically been associated with marijuana and that just isn’t the case anymore.
She says it’s important to make sure people are aware of just how much can be done with hemp.
"Advocacy is a big part of our job. So, getting the information out there that this commodity plant is available and that you can have it in your household.”
Montana Farmers Union plans to host more of these events in the future to try and increase awareness and have farmers share their knowledge of the hemp industry in Montana.
Cary Kolstad also added, “There’s a lot to learn. I’m still learning even after growing it for 3 years.”