GREAT FALLS — Hemp has captured the spotlight over the past few years, especially with its many uses.
Through a recent collaboration with the Montana Farmers Union, hemp is now being looked at as a potential construction material.
Although it may seem like a new idea, hemp in construction dates back thousands of years and can be found in both Roman and Egyptian times.
The use of the crop as a construction material lost strength during the marijuana prohibition era.
The prospect of providing Montana farmers and ranchers with another crop option is what motivated the Montana Farmers Union to look into the feasibility of producing industrial hemp fibers for building materials.
Leading the charge is Farmers Union member Kirby Hancock, founder of Transformative Ecologies LLC.
Thought the partnership, Hancock is also working with the Montana State University Engineering department.
The research will look into decorticating or "husking” raw hemp stalks, mixing and prototyping hempcrete samples, product performance testing, and various hempcrete construction applications.