Homeland Hempcrete in Bismarck constructs wall panels out of the hurd from industrial hemp fiber for replacing exterior walls in homes and other structures.
Matt Marino, owner of Homeland Hempcrete, said the business officially started a couple of years ago, but they haven’t built any homes, storage units, or structures yet for North Dakotans. They have been working on their equipment and the way to procure and use hemp fiber.
“We started in January 2022, and we built a demonstration structure and wall panels inside our facility, but it is not on public display,” Marino said.
The wall panels the company makes are anywhere from 9.25 to 12 inches thick of hempcrete.
Marino hopes to start buying North Dakota-grown hemp fiber from new hemp processors that could be up and running by the end of 2022.
“There are new hemp processors starting up in North Dakota and they have been talking with farmers to contract with them for hemp fiber,” he said.
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Homeland Hempcrete purchases the hurd directly from processors. They don’t deal with bales of hemp fiber. But hemp fiber processors buy bales directly from farmers.
“Producers bale the fiber after harvest for hemp grain and are able to sell the hemp for grain and hemp fiber bales. It is like a dual-crop for farmers,” he said.
However, there are few businesses in the U.S. making hempcrete, so farmers, up to this point, have not had many places to sell their hemp fiber to. Hemp is usually grown for grain or seed.
Hemp fiber processors use decortification machines to separate the outside fiber from the hurd.
“We use the woody chips (hurd) and mix them with water and a binder to make wall sections. It is basically insulation and it keeps mold out,” Marino said. “A conventional wall has 9-10 materials, while an industrial hemp wall has 2-3 materials.”
Marino applied to the North Dakota Agricultural Utilization Products Commission for more than $66,000 of a $122,000 project this year.
“We received a small amount of the money we requested and plan to use it for equipment,” he concluded.