PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania is investing in its hemp industry, with the goal of growing fiber and food markets. Acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently announced $200,000 in grants to three agriculture nonprofits to fund projects aimed at growing these markets. In addition, proposals from marketing and promotion non-profits will be accepted for an additional $392,000 in grants. Hemp has many sustainable uses, such as construction materials, fiber products, and food products. These grants are intended to help boost the Pennsylvania hemp industry and create new businesses, jobs, and environmentally friendly products.
“Hemp has offered a rare opportunity to grow a Pennsylvania industry from the ground up, springing from a material with seemingly limitless uses in sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products,” said Sec. Redding. “These grants will boost an industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for new businesses, farm income, jobs, and climate-friendly, environmentally sound products.”
Grant recipients, region served, matching funding amounts, and project descriptions follow:
- Urban Affairs Coalition and All Together Now Pennsylvania – statewide partnership – $48,000
Pennsylvania Hemp Now – an innovative program to promote hemp in building materials and textiles.
- Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council – Berks, Chester, Lehigh counties – $150,000
Project Invest in PA Hemp – represents six companies coming together to attract investment in industrial hemp producers, agribusinesses and entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania to grow supply chains, product development and distribution.
- Transition Town Media – Delaware and Schuylkill counties – $2,000
Promoting Hemp as a Transitional Product to Next Generation Economy – aims to promote the benefits of hemp and raise awareness to make hemp a household word.
For new proposals, the department plans to award $392,00 in matching funds to reimburse up to half of project costs, with a minimum grant amount of $1,000. Special consideration will go to projects that leverage other funding and public-private partnerships. Eligible projects may include regional or national promotion.
Applicants will be selected in a competitive process.
Qualified nonprofits may apply for grants through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development single online application system. The application period closes Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 5:00 PM and grant recipients will be notified by Friday, March 10, 2023.
Full grant guidelines can be found in the January 28 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
These matching grants are just one way Pennsylvania has fed growth in the new hemp industry, creating Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block grants through the historic PA Farm Bill when federal funding for hemp was not yet available, funding key R&D through state higher ed institutions, and convening the PA Hemp Steering Committee to foster relationships among colleges and university researchers, growers, processors, investors, and insurers to grow opportunities. The department’s hemp-specific grant investments to date have topped $1.12 million.