New farm bill signed into law opens up for more hemp growth in North Carolina

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BURLINGTON, N.C. – Inside a former textile plant is an age-old fiber turning up again. Industrial hemp is one of the fastest growing agricultural products in our state.

"It blends so easily with cotton and it provides a natural blend that easily replaces cotton polyester blends," says Guy Carpenter, who joined Patrique Veille in starting Bare Fibers, a company making hemp cotton blend fabric. "We hope it really opens it up to the farmers."

Thanks to the federal farm bill signed into law just before Christmas, all 50 states are now allowed to produce hemp. The new law allows farmers to grow the product with aid from government programs and crop insurance providers.

"The goal is to produce fabrics ... 70/30 cotton/hemp blend, " said Veille, as he showed samples currently made in China. "We are bringing in material to start having textile mills produce yarns here in North Carolina and South Carolina."

They just need more farmers. Currently most hemp is being grown east of I-95 in North Carolina.

"We are looking for agriculture to develop and we are looking at tens of thousands of acres," he said. "The fit is really comfortable to come here, an opportunity open to us now that legislation has passed.

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