Project Description: Surveying and researching fiber production facilities nationwide to collect data for a pin map that can serve as a resource for farmers considering fiber hemp production.
Skills & Knowledge Required: Online research, phone/people skills, patience, attention to detail. A basic understanding industrial hemp produced for fiber and/or grain.
Resources & Time Required: Internet connection, Excel or Google Sheets, national unlimited telephone access. Estimated time 12-18 hours.
Volunteer Opportunity Details:
HIA’s Fiber and Hurd Council is seeking a volunteer or volunteers to assist with a data gathering project designed to help farmers considering growing hemp for fiber: a free, online “pin map” of active fiber production facilities and the radius within which they are sourcing from farmers.
Because hemp grown for fiber is so heavy, most manufacturers of fiber and hurd products need to buy from farmers nearby to keep transportation costs from cutting into profits. The typical production facility will know what that range is and work to secure supply from farmers within the radius of that range around their facility. This radius may or may not be something they share publicly, either on their website or in discussions. The radius for a given facility could be impacted by any number of factors causing it to change: big swings in the price of hemp or fuel; the availability of lower-cost shipping options (like rail); techniques or processes that reduce the weight of the plant matter before it’s transported (on farm).
This project will make it possible for farmers nationwide who may be considering adding fiber hemp to their rotations to learn if they are in range of any potential buyers.
Data to be collected from available online resources and by direct emails and phone calls to manufacturers, including:
- Manufacturer Business Name
- Physical Location
- Seeking farmers currently?
- If not yet, when?
- Supply range (radius of farms they are looking to source from)
- Name and contact info for farmers
Because this industry is still forming, there is a lot of online materials about fiber production companies that may or may not reflect the reality of their current production capacity/needs. To ensure the integrity of the data contained in the Map, volunteers will need to be comfortable working independently to diligently assess and confirm website or news release claims through direct contact via phone and/or email.