The Mountain Maryland Hemp Alliance (MMHA) and Western Maryland RC&D Council are implementing a $19,000 FY2022 MAERDAF grant awarded by Rural Maryland Council to develop processes and products to manage CBD hemp waste material. The goal of this project is to support creation of niche Appalachian-branded products that would help provide farmers with much needed added revenue to their farming operations.
The MMHA consists of ten hemp farming operations in the western Maryland area. A consistent problem that these farms face is a buildup of CBD hemp stalk waste and a lack of outlets to make money from the byproduct. Many different products can be produced from this “waste”, but processing capacity has not yet been developed for small scale operations such as those in our region.
This grant funding has been used to purchase equipment for breaking the stalks down for various uses, including production of a pellet that can be used in common wood pellet stoves. The process begins with breaking the stalks down with a commercial chipper. The chipped material will then be broken down into smaller pieces, at which point the material can be further processed and pelletized. It has been demonstrated that hemp hurd produces high BTUs and produces less than 2% ash. This makes it an ideal fuel source for pellet stoves. All implements purchased will be mounted to a utility trailer, which will enable moving the equipment among MMHA member farms. This process does not require electricity, allowing the equipment to be utilized in any open area.
Ten hemp farming operations in Garrett County, Maryland will have access to the hemp processing equipment.