Hindmarsh Valley farmers set to pave the way for industrial hemp growers in the region

GROW: Clad in hemp clothing and holding out hemp seeds Diane and Robert Mignanelli stand in the spot where they will soon plant industrial hemp crops at their Hindmarsh Valley farm. Photo: Emma Zirkel.
GROW: Clad in hemp clothing and holding out hemp seeds Diane and Robert Mignanelli stand in the spot where they will soon plant industrial hemp crops at their Hindmarsh Valley farm. Photo: Emma Zirkel.

In a bid to diversify their farm Diane and Robert Mignanelli are set to become the first farmers in the Flerurieu region to delve into the world of industrial hemp after it was approved by the previous state government in November last year. 

The Mignanellis said the appeal of growing industrial hemp was due to the sustainable nature of the crop and the variety of uses the plant presented. 

While hemp can be used in industrial and consumer textiles, building materials and clothing the Mignanelli’s said at this stage they would be focused on the production of seeds. 

“The seed can be used for food, from cereals, salads, baked goods and oils,” Mr Mignanelli said.

“We also want people to understand the difference between cannabis and hemp. There is stigma around the plant due to its similarities to the cannabis plant.

“However, hemp contains virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), around .3 per cent and under legislation we need to keep it under .5 percent, otherwise it needs to be destroyed.

The pair plan to plant the first seeds in November and have opted for a French seed which Mr Mignanelli said was well suited to the climate in the region. 

“There are so many different varieties from different parts of the world and we had to decide on a seed which not only suited the climate but also worked to the latitudes.

“We got the seeds through Michael Anderson, who has started a processing plant in Bordertown so we will be working in close conjunction with him.”

There are so many different varieties from different parts of the world and we had to decide on a seed which not only suited the climate but also worked to the latitudes.

Robert Mignanelli

In order to ensure the crop does not contain above the legal amount of THC someone from Primary Industries Regional SA to monitor the THC levels twice in its life cycle.

“We will have signage and 24-hour surveillance of the crop, as required by legislation,” Mr Mignanelli said.

“Industrial hemp is pollinated by wind, which means that if a marijuana plant were for some reason planted among the crop it would be rendered useless by the hemp. 

“The whole process will be heavily regulated.”