Posts tagged ‘Agriculture’
Portland, Ore. – February 21, 2012 – Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) (OTCBB: NADVF) (TSXV: NAT), which produces and markets CRAiLAR(r), a natural fiber made from flax and other bast fibers, announced today it has secured the services of Ralph Fisher, located in Salem, Ore., as a regional agronomic advisor to the company. In this capacity, Fisher will work with NAT to help contract planted acres of flax in Oregon. He will also work closely with NAT and Oregon State University (OSU) to evaluate strains, growth cycles and techniques that ensure the greatest yields in the region. Fisher, who obtained his B.S. in Crop Science from OSU in 1978, begins his work with the company immediately, with a focus on the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. To read the full story click here.
The US cotton price hit a 140-year high last week of $US1.6789 a pound for near-term futures. From corn stalks to cotton bushels, soybeans and more, the story is the same: stronger-than-usual commodity prices for farmers.
Although no one holds the crystal ball, agricultural professionals estimate such prices will continue through the year due in part to supply concerns. As the U.S. economy continues to struggle, countries such as China, India, Japan and Brazil show continued growth and demand for products.
Many times, when commodity prices rise, it’s a short-crop phenomenon – producers grow more of a specific crop, meet that demand and then prices return to normal. Today’s situation has potential to stick around because farmers have more flexibility in what to grow.
“This is not so much a short crop driven thing, it may have more staying power than normal”, explains Mark Waller a professor with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in College Station. “It’s what works best for them”, he said, explaining producers can factor in input costs and more.
As commodities continue to rise, you can expect that both manufacturers and end consumers will be holding their pocket books tightly. Economically viable alternatives are the key in these tough times. We believe that our CRAiLAR Fibre Technology is the part of the solution to the ever rising price of cotton.
Click here to learn more about what we’re doing to bring affordable, sustainably-made solutions to the market.
Today we announced that we’ve joined forces with Hanesbrands Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in a cooperative research project designed to cultivate and evaluate the viability of various flax strains for use in our CRAiLAR technology. The project takes place in South Carolina and has an initial term of one year with a renewal option for two additional years.
We have already successfully transformed flax fibres blended with cotton into sustainable yarns and fabrics that posses unique properties such as moisture management and shrinkage resistance, with the comfort and price parity of cotton. The new partnership with Hanesbrands Inc. and the USDA-ARS is a strategic step in our optimization of flax fibres as the foundation for the next phase of our proprietary CRAiLAR technology. Success of the project will result in the achievement of producing a viable, natural substitute to synthetic fibres that effectively blends with cotton to create new markets and new uses for natural fibres.
“We’ve announced previously that we had created a viable sustainable complement to cotton using flax fibre in our CRAiLAR process,” said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies. “This new research we’re conducting, in partnership with Hanesbrands Inc. and the USDA-ARS, allows us to identify the best possible flax strain and agricultural practices suited for the needs of the apparel and related fibre markets, and will maximize the effectiveness of our CRAiLAR process.”
The project, led by ARS, the chief in-house scientific research agency of USDA, is part of the agency’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) program — the primary tool linking government and industry researchers in cooperative research work. ARS scientists will collaborate with NAT and Hanesbrands Inc. to assess various flax varieties and their viability for cultivation in the South Carolina region, as well as which crop conditions, harvesting and processing techniques will produce the highest possible yield of consistently superior fibres. Testing will take place at two ARS research facilities in Florence and Clemson, S.C., after which we will convert the resulting flax crop into textile-grade fibres.
The all-natural, 100%-organic CRAiLAR process is the first to successfully remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture by processing the fibres in a patented enzyme wash using dedicated equipment. The result is a fibre that has both the tensile strength of flax and the sought-after qualities of cotton. Spinning trials facilitated by NAT and Hanesbrands Inc. earlier this year have proven that CRAiLAR-treated flax can be spun on existing cotton spinning machinery.
Along with Hanesbrands, we have jointly committed to provide approximately $100,000 per year in in-kind contributions to help fund the project which is expected to benefit local farmers — creating new business opportunities and potentially establishing flax as a major winter crop in the South Carolina region — and to create job prospects for the people of Kingstree, S.C.
Hemp advocates continue to push hard to give back farmers the right to grow industrial hemp. Enthusiastic supporters were thrilled by the decision of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski to sign SB 676 into law on August 4th, 2009. The law permits the production, trade and possession of industrial hemp commodities and products.
By signing SB 676 into law, which passed with strong bi-partisan support, Governor Kulongoski has taken a proactive position allowing farmers to provide American manufacturers with domestically grown hemp and to profit from that effort. American companies will no longer need to import hemp and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable, new crop.
Despite industrial hemp being legal at a State level, Oregon growers are unable to get on with their business as they are required to obtain a permit from the DEA which is on the Federal level. Washington still classifies hemp as an illegal drug in the same category as marijuana instead of identifying it as the agricultural crop that it is. This sort of bureaucratic nonsense in turn prevents farmers from moving forward, leading to little progress for the state’s nascent industry.
Industrial hemp can be used in a wide variety of products including auto parts, building materials, fuels, paper, clothing and food to name a few. The HIA estimates that the 2008 retail sales of all hemp products in North America to be about $360 million. By allowing US farmers once again to grown hemp, legislators can clear the way for a new Billion Dollar Crop!
To find out what you can do to encourage and support domestic hemp farming, visit Vote Hemp for more information.