Farm Bill: Hemp Production, Is It Worth It?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production and transport, spurring major interest from many Tribes and individual producers.  Like any agricultural endeavor, prospective growers must evaluate production and market feasibility.

  • Do you have the capacity to grow a viable crop (land, equipment, knowledge, seeds, etc)?
  • If so, do you have market outlets for the raw harvested crop or do have processing capacity to turn that crop into value added products?

Local extension agents may have some information, but the novelty of this new production opportunity creates knowledge gaps.  The following study completed by the Congressional Research Service offers an overview of market and basic production information, as well as references to additional resources.  Some highlights of the document include:

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“Most researchers acknowledge the potential profitability of industrial hemp, but also the potential obstacles to its development. Current challenges facing the industry include the need to re-establish agricultural supply chains, breed varieties with modern attributes, upgrade harvesting equipment, modernize processing and manufacturing, and identify new market opportunities.

In the past two decades, researchers at the USDA and various land grant universities and state agencies (for example, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, and Vermont; see Appendix A) have conducted several feasibility and marketing studies. More recent available market reports indicate that the estimated gross value of hemp production per acre is about $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks.” (Page 6)

 

 

Three videos on Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines at Red Lake Summit

Register and get more information on the 2018 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit to be held May 9-13, 2018 in Tama, Iowa on the Meskwaki Nation.

 

#1. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Hyssop

The Red Lake Ojibwe Nation and Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) take you on a short walk along part of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation’s, Red Lake and the woods that surround it foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit held at Red Lake, Minnesota during September of 2016.

#2. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: American Basswood

Here is Kevin Finny, Director of the Jijak Foundation for the Gun Lake Pottawatomi in Michigan speaking about the use of American Basswood, one of several species of trees identified during the fall 2016 Intertribal Food Summit held on the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation during September.

#3.Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Milkweed

With Kevin Finney, executive director of the Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Foundation and Tashia Hart of the Sioux Chef Team in the woods and fields of Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council during September of 2016.

Processing parched corn into Hominy

By Paul DeMain

Many workshops offered during the recent Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Food Summits of 2016 at Red Lake, Minnesota, Madison and Camp Jijak in 2016 and 2017 have involved the gathering/harvesting of resources and their processing of some of these foods into Value Added Products (VAP) for storage, future, or a diversity of uses in their new condition. Some products gathered are always used on site in order to facilitate sharing of traditional food preparations and ancient or contemporary recipes.

Amongst those products include what the Ojibwe called Mandamin (The Great Seed) or corn and for which there has been some 350+ varieties amongst tribes identified so far. May varieties of Indian corn have been lost —  to history, maybe Mansanto, or caches that are yet to be found. A good example might be the White Flint Corn described as growing on Madeline Island, in Lake Superior — also know as the former capital of the Ojibwe Nation, a variety of corn that is described as growing there in the 1700s.  While it is possible, and probably likely, that the White Flint grown there is related to other northern Wisconsin, Great Lakes or Island flints that are well known, (Like Bear Island White Flint) and could be connected genetically to the Madeline Island gardens, to date there has not been a Madeline Island White Flint Corn seed, or seed cache identified in seed repositories, museums or private collections.

Jijak_#1George_Cooking_HominyLac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe elder George Martin, assisted by Buddy Raphael (not shown) discuss the boiling process for making parched corn into hominy. Raphael says he likes to let his corn dry for over a year before using it for cooking and other needs.

After the parched corn is boiled in an alkaline solution for a lengthy time period, in this case hardwood ashes and for some tribes maple ashes in particular rather then lye, lime or baking soda, the corn is then transported to a screen for further cleaning. By now, a thin outer shell and little seed connection nub should come off easily from the corn kernel when rubbed between two fingers. The boiling in ash, or lime process changes the chemistry of the corn, contributes calcium, potassium and trace minerals to the corn and makes it more nutritious while at the same time loosening a thin outer shell casing from the kernel.

Jijak_Hauling_Hominy#3

The cooked corn is transported to a screen for further cleaning, drying and discussions with Camp Jijak participants.

The Oneida’s of Wisconsin hand pick and dehydrate much of their white flint corn and then prepare it in this similar manner and in some cases they will boil it again for grinding and making corn meal while adding kidney beans and making small round loafs to refrigerate for storage. Hopi people of the Southwest used ground blue corn mixed with small amounts of willow wood ash to prepare piki, a thin, crepe-like, blue bread. A porridge made from hominy in the south is called grits. Many tribes had their own technique for preparing their corn for future storage and seed keepers have identified over 300 varieties of corn grown historically in Indian Country with some sweet varieties not suitable for making hominy.

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Below: Buddy Raphael provides some traditional teachings and advice for making corn hominy.

Jijak_#5Buddy_Hosing_Hominy

For more information on programs provided by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) you can go on the net here:  IAC

Other Youtube videos from Camp Jijak.

Sapping, syrup and sugar – Jijak 2017

60lb.packssugar

Maple sugar used to be packaged in 65lb mukuks, or birchbark baskets by the Ojibwe Anishinabeg of the Great Lakes.  65lbs of maple = about 8.1 gallons of syrup. You can learn a lot more about historic and contemporary sapping, making maple syrup or sugar and the kinds of trees you can tap at this years Great Lakes Food Summit coming up April 19-23rd, 2017 in Hopkins, Michigan.

Summit Updates – Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

Early Bird registration has opened! Click the button below to get your discounted tickets. Prices will increase March 20th, 2015. Hands-on sessions are offered as separate tickets (no fee) and are only available to registered conference attendees.

Vendors, please click “Buy Tickets” to reserve your table space. We are offering a limited number of spaces because registration is capped at 150 attendees.

Eventbrite - Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

We invite you to join us on our planning call tomorrow to discuss topics, speakers, and format of the conference. Call in at 2pm CST to (eight six six) 614-2162 – Access code: 987- one one four – 7244.

If you’re not able to join us, or would like to preview the draft schedule, please take a look at the link below. Keep in mind this is a working draft, and changes should be expected.

GLIFS agenda DRAFT