NZ: Industrial hemp industry aims for new high

Once upon a time, the meter-plus-high crop growing on the Ellis family’s farm in central Hawke’s Bay might have had passersby calling the cops when they saw the distinctive-shaped leaves.

But in the past few years, the hemp industry has come a long way: it’s now a $4 million industry and has ambitious hopes for growing further.

It is increasingly popular with farmers as an alternative way to use land and generate cash, and it also helps improve the soil by removing heavy metals and absorbing nitrogen from the soil.

At the forefront of the hemp revolution is the Ellis family in Tikokino. 
“It’s an exciting industry to be in,” said Holleigh Pearce, who returned from overseas to find her father, Ian Ellis, was growing hemp, along with other specialized crops. “It’s such a new and upcoming product.”

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