By Heather Collins
Montana-based IND HEMP, a leading supply chain operator and production processor of hemp food ingredients, grain, and fiber, wants to feed the world with hemp.
IND HEMP is a family run company created by Ken Elliott and his wife Julie along with his daughter Morgan. It is a mission-based organization created to provide opportunities for local farmers interested in growing hemp. The Elliott family believes in serving the farming industry and providing access to hemp materials worldwide.
“We essentially started IND HEMP with the farmer in mind, especially in the rural and agricultural communities of Montana. When hemp was first legalized, we saw an obvious bottleneck in the processing infrastructure and the challenges farmers experienced. My dad and I set out to change that,” said Morgan Elliott VP of Operations.
Together, with Ken’s experience in large-scale industrial environmental cleanup projects and Morgan’s processing and chemical engineering background with ADM, working in both corn and soy large scale food manufacturing facilities, they were ready to tackle hemp. Through the combined efforts of the Elliott family, IND HEMP took the initial steps in 2019 and built the first hemp oilseed and protein powder processing plant in Montana.
“You’ve got the THC guys and the CBD guys…we’re the IND guys- INDUSTRIAL Hemp-oilseeds and fiber. We’re all about creating relationships and opportunities for Montana farmers,” said Ken Elliott, President.
IND HEMP operates its state-of-the-art hemp grain and foods processing facility in Fort Benton, Montana, and can support over 10,000 acres of hemp grain production. The company offers certified organic and raw hemp food-grade ingredients, such as hemp hearts, hemp seed oil, hemp proteins, and hemp feed ingredients to commercial wholesalers and national distributors.
Sustainable & Organic
Collaboration is key to IND HEMP’s success and why the company supports a Farmer First Commitment, a pledge that serves the 30+ farmers in their network with agronomy support, education, and business opportunities.
According to IND HEMP, the farmers they work with have reduced the spraying of over “285,000 gallons of pesticide spray solution that would have normally been applied to beans, peas, or other traditional crops in this region on those fields.”
Ken explains, “When I started in hemp, one of my goals was to help educate farmers on the benefits of this plant, and since then, I’ve learned that hemp is far more versatile and eco-friendly than I could have imagined.”
Morgan adds, “We have more than 9,600 acres of industrial hemp grain and fiber crops currently in production between Montana, Washington, and Oregon. Due to our strong relationships, we can connect our growers with innovative companies looking to use hemp seed or hemp fiber materials in their products.”
From Grain to Fiber
In addition to hemp grain and hemp food ingredients, IND HEMP specializes in using the entire plant and processes hemp stalks for hemp bast fiber and hemp hurd constituents.
Currently, the company is in the first phase of construction for its fiber plant, a 10-acre site built around a 5-ton-per-hour decortication line by world-renowned fiber company Laroche.
IND HEMP is looking forward to completing the project in the next couple of months. “We have been blessed with the mild weather this past December and January. This is an exciting time as we should be on time to move equipment in March and hopefully be operational to decorticate hemp stalks on a commercial level by the end of the third quarter of this year,” adds Morgan.
Once completed, the combined IND HEMP grain and fiber processing capabilities can support up to 30,000 acres of hemp, and the company estimates it will employ more than 50-70 people in the near future.
“We’re hoping the Covid-19 pandemic wains, and we can get back out in the world and engage with others! We are looking for strategic partners in downstream businesses looking to use hemp in their products,” shares Morgan.
Hemp Center of Excellence
IND HEMP also has plans to build a Montana Industrial Hemp Center of Excellence with a
state-of-the-art research and development facility on the company’s campus.
The Hemp Center of Excellence is the next step to putting Montana on the map as a hemp industry leader. “We are currently in discussions with Montana State University, along with hemp-focused architectural and engineering companies, as well as others interested in collaborating for the development of the campus,” said Ken. “We have had tremendous support from the City of Fort Benton to secure an Economic Development Grant to support the industrial park project and additional hemp innovations in our region.”
For more information and news on the exciting projects taking place at IND HEMP, visit indhemp.com.
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Heather Collins is an Account Manager for Compass Natural Marketing and has been working in communications and marketing in the natural products industry for the past twenty years. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo. Collins serves as a Contributing Writer of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.